Lewis Hamilton says he is “nearly there” with his new Mercedes Formula 1 contract, as he insisted on Thursday that there has been no contact with Ferrari.
The seven-time world champion has been at the centre of speculation this week that Ferrari was ready to make a bid to lure him to Maranello in 2024 as a potential partner to Charles Leclerc.
But, with Ferrari making it clear on Thursday that it had not held discussions over the matter, Hamilton has also poured cold water on suggestions he is pondering a switch.
Hamilton said the reports were nothing more than speculation, as he explained he was happy with the progress his management team were making with Mercedes on a new deal.
“I think naturally, when you're in contract negotiations, there's always going to be speculation,” he said.
“I think, ultimately, unless you hear from me, then that's all it is.”
Hamilton hoped that the new Mercedes deal could be finalised in the next few weeks, as he welcomed the fact that, for the first time in his career, he was not having to handle negotiations with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff himself.
“My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto,” he said. “We're almost at the end of having a contract ready.
“I'm having a team focused on that, so I can just do my job. That's a much better position than I was in before, because I remember I used to do my negotiations on my own, and it was very stressful. So, I don't have to do that anymore.”
While Mercedes may face a tougher challenge in convincing Hamilton to stay because of its current performance struggles, the British driver said that his perceptions of how strong the team was were unchanged.
Asked if the pace of the car had an influence on his talks, he said: “It doesn't have a bearing I think, because we're still a championship-winning team.
“It's just we've had the wrong car. There have been some decisions that have been made over the past two years that have not been ideal, and we're working our way through that.
“We have a new upgrade this weekend, the team have worked incredibly hard to bring this upgrade, and we already after Bahrain decided that's what we're going to do.
“I was a little bit gutted when the last race got cancelled, because I was excited to try this new package. And so, whilst here is not the best platform track-wise, to really see those come to fruition, we'll hopefully experience that more next week.
“But, as I said, my team are chatting, having discussions with the [Mercedes] team in the background and we're almost there.”
Asked directly if Ferrari had been in touch with him or his representatives about an offer, Hamilton said: “No.”