There were no Formula 1 cars on the Monaco circuit on Thursday, but the hype was certainly felt in the Principality, as the drivers of the grid were seen greeting fans and taking in the atmosphere before answering the questions of the press at the F1 media day.
With so much off-track speculation circulating since the Miami Grand Prix, the drivers found themselves on the receiving end of a wide range of questions, with one driver in particular taking the opportunity to put a spiralling rumour to rest.
In the weeks leading up to the Monaco GP, Lewis Hamilton has been linked with a move to Scuderia Ferrari, which would see the Brit walk away from an extremely successful partnership with Mercedes in search of his elusive eighth world title as contract negotiations have not yet reached completion.
Speaking in Monaco on Thursday, May 25, Hamilton said “naturally with contract negotiations, there’s always going to be speculation. Ultimately, unless you hear it from me, that’s what it is.”
As to where the speculation might have started, Hamilton said it’s a “certain individual in this room,” and suggested that the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna GP in the previous week fuelled a need for headlines, with varying degrees of truth to them. “I think maybe with the weekend, last weekend, with the race being cancelled, maybe they’re just bored,” the seven-time world champion commented.
“My team’s working closely behind the scenes with Toto (Wolff). We’re almost at the end of having a contract ready. Having the team focus on that so I can just do my job is a much better position than I was in before, because I remember I used to do negotiations on my own and it was very stressful, so I don’t do that anymore,” said Hamilton.
Ferrari team principle Fred Vasseur was on hand to deny reports that the Scuderia offered Hamilton a large sum of money for his signature, saying “You know perfectly that at this stage of the season each week you will have a different story and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton, we didn’t do it,” he said.