Lewis Hamilton says it is “positive” to hear of Mattia Binotto’s recent compliments but insists it is too early to start thinking about 2021 and a possible move to Ferrari.
Although the 2020 grid is signed and sealed, many of the top race seats are up for grabs for the following season with Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen yet to commit.
Hamilton has been linked to a move to Ferrari, taking Vettel’s place alongside Charles Leclerc.
Those rumours were given a bit of weight earlier this week when Ferrari team boss Binotto publicly praised Hamilton, calling him an “outstanding driver, a fantastic driver.”
He added: “Knowing that he’s available in 2021 can make us only happy.”
Hamilton was told of Binotto’s comments in the wake of his fifth pole position of this season, which he bagged in Abu Dhabi.
For the Brit, it was not only the first he had heard of it, but also the first time Ferrari had paid him a compliment.
“I think that’s the first compliment I’ve had from Ferrari in these thirteen years,” he said.
“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.
“It’s nice that finally… it’s taken all these years for him to recognise maybe but I’m grateful.”
Asked if Ferrari publicly courting him was a waste of their time, the six-time World Champion replied: “It’s positive. 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.
“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: trying to make sure I finish off strong.
“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.”
Follow all the action from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre