Lewis makes eyes at Fer­rari

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT -

LEWIS Hamil­ton has ad­mit­ted he is flat­tered by Fer­rari’s in­ter­est, re­fus­ing to shut down a move to the Ital­ian gi­ants.

Fer­rari has ramped up their pur­suit of Hamil­ton at the sea­son-con­clud­ing race in Abu Dhabi by pub­licly woo­ing Bri­tain’s six-time world cham­pion.

Ital­ian me­dia have re­ported that Hamil­ton, who is out of con­tract with Mercedes at the end of next sea­son, has spo­ken on two oc­ca­sions with Fer­rari chair­man John Elkann this year.

While in a fur­ther in­trigu­ing twist on Satur­day evening, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – whose own fu­ture with For­mula One’s record-break­ing team is also in doubt – re­vealed he would not stop his £40m-a-year driver from en­ter­ing into talks with their Ital­ian rivals.

Hamil­ton will start Sun­day’s race as the favourite to close out his world cham­pi­onship year with an 11th vic­tory after putting his Mercedes on pole po­si­tion.

But, in the mo­ments after claim­ing the 88th pole of his ca­reer, the English­man was asked for his re­sponse to Mat­tia Binotto’s com­ments in which the Fer­rari team prin­ci­pal de­scribed Hamil­ton as an ‘out­stand­ing driver’, adding that his po­ten­tial avail­abil­ity in 2021 could ‘only make Fer­rari happy’.

“It is the first com­pli­ment I have had from Fer­rari in 13 years,” said Hamil­ton.

“It has taken all these years for them to recog­nise me, but I am grate­ful. It is pos­i­tive and it is a team that I have al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated.

“They have got two great driv­ers so who knows what the mar­ket is go­ing to be do­ing over the next year.”

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