Even though he is thought likely to be confirmed as a McLaren driver for next season, Lewis Hamilton continues to be linked to the Woking team's biggest rivals for future F1 campaigns.
Hamilton's body language and comments have been altogether more pro-McLaren in recent weeks, coinciding with a two-race winning streak for the Mercedes-powered squad, but not so long ago he was overtly seeking a chat with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and has been repeatedly mentioned in connection with a possible Ferrari seat, even though former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso has inked a long-term deal to remain at Maranello.
With Felipe Massa all but certain to remain as the Spaniard's cohort in 2012 - he has been verbally confirmed by president Luca di Montezemolo - Hamilton may have to wait for a drive that McLaren team-mate Jenson Button rates as one of his 'dream opportunities', but the 2008 world champion insists that he is not losing sleep over whether or not the chance comes his way.
"At the moment I don't have any plans to [drive there], it is not something I desire or feel that I have to do," he told Spanish sports newspaper AS
, "but we are talking about a fantastic team and you never know what could happen in the future."
While many doubt that he could ever work side-by-side with Alonso after their acrimonious season at McLaren, observing the pair at race weekends backs up Hamilton's belief that there would not be as big a problem as suggested.
"Alonso is a very, very fast driver, incredibly fast, with extraordinary talent and incredible speed," he noted diplomatically, "You know that he will always give his best, and I learned a lot with him as a pilot. I improved my driving thanks to having him as a companion."
Although the stars may be ready to align in their favour at the moment, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali admits that he would give Hamilton serious consideration as a possible rider for the Prancing Horse.
"I always state that, in my view, the top three drivers in the championship are Fernando, Lewis and Sebastian [Vettel]," he claimed in an interview with Britain's Telegraph
newspaper conducted at the Nurburgring, "And, from that point of view, my attitude has not changed one bit.
“I can understand the criticism [Hamilton] has received because I know how this sport works, not only with Lewis, but also with our drivers. It is part of the game and, when a driver has such great potential, you hope to see him behave a different way in certain situations. But that is the nature of different drivers. As far as I can see from the outside, Lewis is always in attack mode - and for a driver to have this attitude is a great thing."
Despite his praise for the Briton, however, Domenicali insisted that getting Alonso and Massa to the end of the season in as strong a position as possible, as well as preparing for 2012, remained his priority.
"I'm concentrating on my drivers at the moment," he emphasised.
Button, meanwhile, has also been mentioned as a potential driver for both Ferrari and Red Bull, with Domenicali and Horner no doubt believing that the more laid-back Briton would be the ideal foil for Alonso and Vettel respectively. However, like Hamilton, the 2009 world champion is most likely to re-sign with McLaren for next season.