F 1

The mutual admiration society that is Ferrari and Hamilton

James Jose/Abu Dhabi
Filed on December 1, 2019
Ferrari team principal Binotto's praise of Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton has ignited a buzz. - AFP

Mattia Binotto, the Ferrari principal, the other day, had glanced his admiring eyes at the Mercedes driver, who could be a free agent in 2021.

It is tough to put a finger on it. Is it just admiration? Is it a blooming romance? Or just a mere flirtation? Both parties though, refuse to commit to anything and perhaps the coming months, over the turn of the year, will tell.

For now though, it is just first base, just a fleeting admiration between Ferrari and a driver who might, maybe one day, one day, be seen in the flaming red of the Scuderia.

Mattia Binotto, the Ferrari principal, the other day, had glanced his admiring eyes at the Mercedes driver, who could be a free agent in 2021.

"Lewis is certainly an outstanding driver, fantastic driver and knowing that he is available in 2021, it can make only make us happy. But, honestly, it is too early for any decision. So, we are happy with the drivers we have got at the moment. And certainly, at one stage next season, we will start discussing and understand what to do," Binotto had said at the Yas Marina Circuit, the other day.

It remains to be seen if the Briton will bite the bait but he did acknowledge and was grateful for the compliment.

Hamilton's contract with Mercedes is up at the end of the 2021 season and the prospect of signing the 34-year-old, already a six-time world champion, is something Ferrari would not like to pass up.

"Well, this is the first time I've heard of that," Hamilton said of Binotto's compliment.

"I think that's the first compliment I've had from Ferrari in these 13 years. I honestly don't remember them ever mentioning me ever so thank you, I'll take it, doesn't really mean anything, it's all talk but yeah, it's nice that finally. it's taken all these years for him to recognise maybe but I'm grateful," he added.

Similar to Ferrari, an opportunity to drive for a team steeped so much in motorsport history, is also something Hamilton might not like to pass too.

"I think it's never a waste of time to ever being nice to someone. As I said, it has been a long, long time and a team that I've always appreciated over the years, so to earn their respect from someone from there who's obviously very high up is obviously not a bad thing," Hamilton explained.

But Hamilton said he will pass that bridge when it comes.

"I think they've got two great drivers as is so who knows what the driver market's going to be doing over the next year. But if I'm really honest, I'm not really focused on that right this second. I've got this incredible group of people who hire me where I am and I feel like I just continue to owe it to them to give my heart to them and my energy 100 per cent to them, particularly as I'm still in contract and negotiations haven't started yet. I honestly don't know how the next phase of the months is going to go when it comes to contract. It's very odd that you have to do it almost a year before it ends and it can't be done towards the end but that's just the way it goes but we shall see," he said.




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