Hamilton says racing for Ferrari in F1 "just wasn't meant to be", with the Briton poised to renew his long-term contract to Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion was linked to a possible Ferrari switch at the end of last year, when it emerged that he had held talks with the Italian car manufacturer's boss John Elkann.

But with Ferrari set on Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz for the next few years, and Hamilton about to sign what could be his final F1 contract with Mercedes, the chances of a move to Maranello are looking incredibly slim.

Speaking about the Ferrari situation ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton said that while he did speak to Elkann, he never seriously considered walking away from Mercedes.

"I was never close at all to ever leaving my team," he said.

"I think it's only right that as drivers and as people when you're looking at your next phases and committing to periods of time in your life, you have to analyse what your options are. And make sure you have done your due diligence and have the pros and cons.

"I don't necessarily know that our values are aligned and timing [wise], it just wasn't meant to be.

"I'm not bothered by it. I'm so proud and grateful for the journey that I have with Mercedes."

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Hamilton has only ever raced with Mercedes engines in F1, and has been fully committed to the German car manufacturers' works team since 2013. He has won six of its seven world titles since then.

Reflecting on what he has achieved with Mercedes, he says the team atmosphere and support he has always had have been key factors for him remaining loyal there.

"I think this is the only team in the history of the sport where you're long-life family member," he said.

"If you look at the all the greats who have been there their whole lives, they've been a part of Mercedes, the Mercedes brand. You're part of the road of evolution and they include you in the family forever.

"So that's something, that's loyalty, which I have tattooed, which is a huge part and such an important value to myself."