Hamilton believes helping Mercedes beat Red Bull would be a “better legacy” than an F1 team switch

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Lewis Hamilton has emphatically denied claims that his management team initiated talks with Red Bull regarding the prospect of him joining the reigning world champions.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton provided his account of the talks that allegedly took place on his behalf between his representatives and the Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

As per the Daily Mail, Horner said: “We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining.

“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 John Elkann, too. I think there were serious talks.

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

“But I can’t see Max and Lewis working out together. The dynamic wouldn’t be right. We are 100% happy with what we have.”

A spokesperson from Red Bull later clarified that it was the British driver’s father and ex-manager, Anthony Hamilton, who reached out to Horner.

“It’s only natural that the people around him would reach out at some point in time,” Horner went on to add in an interview with RACER magazine.

“He’s had a tough year; prior to him re-signing with Mercedes it’s only natural that the people around him would reach out to see what the options are. There’s nothing unusual about that, it’s something that’s happened in the past and it’s not unique to Lewis.”

In spite of the speculation, the Red Bull team boss himself stated that a Verstappen-Hamilton lineup is an unlikely prospect.

“I think it’s highly unlikely. Lewis is obviously happy where he is—he has signed a long-term contract, or a longer-term contract—there. So while it would be mouthwatering to the fans of Formula 1, it could be quite chaotic to try and manage that one! But we’re very happy with the driver pairing that we have.”

Earlier in the year, it was confirmed that Hamilton and Mercedes had agreed on a contract extension that will take the seven-time world champion up to the end of 2025, alongside current teammate George Russell, who has committed for the same duration.

Speaking on the subject, Hamilton reiterated: “Signing has shown my commitment to the team.”

Asked whether he would be tempted to join a rival team, such as Red Bull or Ferrari, if Mercedes struggles to return to winning ways in the coming seasons, Lewis replied, “Let’s be realistic. Every single driver that’s racing here dreams of being in the winning car.

“In my younger days, when I hadn’t had a lot of success, maybe in the McLaren days, maybe it would have been a lot more attractive,” he conceded.

“From a racing perspective and my viewpoint on things, when I moved to this team, I enjoyed moving from a more successful team to a team that hadn’t had success to a vision of growing and building with a team, because when we did then win it was such a better feeling.”

He added that he would be open to racing alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen if it came down to it—but noted that he doesn’t think the Dutchman “wants” him as a teammate.

“I would be more than happy to race against Max in the same car. It would be wonderful.

“I don’t think he wants me to be his teammate.”

For his part, Hamilton emphasised that the satisfaction of working towards making Mercedes the best outweighs the temptation of joining a team with a dominant car at the ready.

“Every driver here looks at the Red Bull car and would love to drive that car. I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to drive that car and experience how good that car is—every driver would feel that—[but] I feel that we’ve had two really difficult cars and if we work towards being that car, it is going to be a way better feeling than stepping into the best car.

“It wouldn’t do much for me in the sense of stepping into the most dominant car of all time. Working with my team to be able to beat them would be better for my legacy for sure.”