Hamilton denies he held talks with Red Bull and Ferrari


Lewis Hamilton has denied Christian Horner's claim that his representatives approached both Red Bull and Ferrari as he sought to leave Mercedes.

Like most racing drivers, the seven-time world champion has admitted many times over the years that he would like to one day race in the colours of the Maranello outfit, however most of the media's reporting on a potential move has been wild speculation if not outright clickbait, after all why would the Briton wish to leave a winning team for an outfit that is forever playing catch up.

However, last year and again this year Mercedes has lost ground, and while 2022 saw Hamilton fail to win a single race for the first time since entering the sport, this year looks likely to see his team fail to make it to the top step of the podium even once.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Horner says that he was approached by representatives of the Briton with a view to partnering Max Verstappen.

"We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining," he said. "They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.

"He met (Ferrari chairman) John Elkann, too," he added. "I think there were serious talks.

'It was around Monaco, there were definitely conversations, perhaps with Vasseur, too. But certainly with Elkann.

"I can't see Max and Lewis working out together," he admitted. "The dynamic wouldn't be right. We are 100 per cent happy with what we have."

In August, Mercedes announced a new deal with Mercedes that keeps him at the German team until the end of the 2025 season when he will be approaching 42.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi today, Hamilton denied Horner's claims.

"I've checked with everyone in my team and no-one has spoken to them," he said. "But they have tried to reach out to us.

"Basically, I picked up my old phone, which had my old number on it," he continued. "I switched it on and obviously hundreds of messages came through and I realised there was one from Christian asking to get together and have a chat at the end of the season.

"Initially, I just replied to him on my new phone, it was after a race weekend, and it was quite late on when I found the message, but it was from earlier in the year, so it was months later. I just said congratulations on the amazing season and I hope we are able to compete with you soon. Then he replied repeating the same thing."

Asked about Ferrari he said: "I know John really well. We met years ago in the Google camp. I went to a Google camp in Sicily, and that's when our friendship started and we've always remained in touch.

"I've known Fred since 2005," he added, "and we've always had a really great relationship. We'd talk often since he's been in Formula One. After I left his team, we would talk all the time obviously when I was in his team, then I came to Formula One, and you have less contact with the Formula 2 series. But since he's been back, we've met here, we've travelled together with Toto. So that's really as far as it goes."

Asked why Horner might have said what he did, the Mercedes driver replied: "If you really think about it, there are a lot of people here that like to drop my name in many conversations because they know it's going to make waves.

"And if you are a little bit lonely and you are not getting much attention, that's the perfect thing to do, just mention my name.

"Hopefully signing has showed my commitment to the team," he said of the Mercedes deal. "I think, let's be realistic, every single driver that's racing here dreams of being in the winning car. I think probably here, in my younger days, when I haven't had a lot of success, maybe in those McLaren days, it would have been a lot more attractive.

"When I think about just from a racing perspective and my viewpoint on things, obviously showing when I moved to this team, I enjoyed moving from a more successful team to a team that hadn't had success with the vision of growing and building with the team, because when we did then win, it was just such a better feeling.

"Whilst every driver here looks at the Red Bull car and would love to drive that car, and I'm not saying that I wouldn't love to drive that car and experience how good that car is, every driver would feel that, I feel like we've had two really difficult years, and if we work towards beating that car, that's going to be a way better feeling than stepping into just the best car.

"I don't think it would do much for me in the sense of just stepping into a car that's been the most dominant car of all-time. Working with my team to build to be able to beat them I think would be better for my legacy, for sure.

"I'd be more than happy to race against Max in the same car," he grinned. "That would be wonderful. But I don't think he wants me to be his teammate."

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Published: 23/11/2023
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