Lewis Hamilton appeared to stop himself short of divulging details about rumoured meetings with Ferrari president John Elkann as the prospect of the Formula 1 world champion making a sensational switch from Mercedes gathers momentum.
Like many others on the grid, Hamilton's deal expires at the end of 2020, with F1 then embarking on a new era of regulations in 2021.
Hamilton picked his spot perfectly ahead of the last overhaul of the sport in 2014, joining a Mercedes side that has just completed its sixth-straight title double – an F1 record – of the V6 Hybrid era.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said in Abu Dhabi that he was happy to see Hamilton on the market, which was followed by Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff saying he would not block Hamilton's path if he were to seek a move to Maranello.
And with Gazzetta dello Sport reporting that Hamilton and Elkann have twice met in 2019, a request for clarification was put to the world champion after he rounded off his sixth championship campaign with victory at the Yas Marina Circuit.
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