In Abu Dhabi, speaking about the future F1 driver market, which is probably going to change in the season-2021, the Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said that the fact that Lewis Hamilton is available in 2021 "make the team only happy", Mattia also named Lewis "an outstanding and fantastic driver".
After the qualifying Lewis Hamilton was asked what is he thinking about Binotto’s words. Apparently the driver was surprised and said that this is the first nice words he’s heard from Ferrari in past years. Max Verstappen, who finished the session in P3 and also was at the press conference, broke into the conversation.
Lewis Hamilton: Well, this is the first time I’ve heard of that. I think that’s the first compliment I’ve had from Ferrari in these thirteen years.
Max Verstappen: It’s because you’re beating them.
Lewis Hamilton: 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.
However, speaking seriously, the Mercedes driver emphasized it’s very nice to hear respect and kind words from the rivals’ side, but he’s happy in that place where is he now, and once again Lewis thanked his team.
"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," – Lewis admitted.
"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," – Hamilton said.
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