Lewis Hamilton accused Christian Horner of ‘stirring’ after the Red Bull Formula One boss said a representative of the seven times world champion approached him about a drive before the Briton signed a new contract with Mercedes.
Horner told the Daily Mail newspaper that the unnamed representative contacted Red Bull about Hamilton partnering with now triple world champion Max Verstappen at the dominant team next season.
“We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining,” said Horner. “They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.”
Hamilton, whose contract to the end of 2025 was announced in August, told Sky Sports at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Thursday he did not know what Horner was talking about.
“I know it’s come from Christian. I don’t really understand what he’s been talking about because no one as far as I’m aware from my team has spoken to him, I haven’t spoken to Christian really in years,” he added.
“He did reach out to me earlier in the year about meeting up, but that’s it. I just congratulated him on an amazing year and said hopefully soon, I’ll be able to fight against you guys in the near future. That was it.
“So I’m not really sure, I think he’s just stirring things,” said the sport’s most successful driver.
“There aren’t any confidential discussions. You know Christian. He loves that kind of stuff.”
Hamilton said he would be “more than happy” to race Verstappen in an equal car, and any driver would love to drive “for such a great group of people,” but it was not his personal dream. “I think moving from a car that’s not so great to a winning car, from my perspective that’s not a dream. The dream is always to start like where we kind of are and build up to winning. That’s why I’ve stayed with Mercedes,” he said.
Mercedes won eight constructors’ titles in a row from 2014-21 but is fighting Ferrari to be best of the rest this season. Verstappen has won 18 of 21 races, so far, and Red Bull all but one.
Horner told the Daily Mail that Hamilton, who has not won a race since 2021, also had talks with Ferrari chairman John Elkann earlier in the year.
“I think there were serious talks. It was around Monaco (in May). There were definitely conversations, perhaps with (Ferrari team boss Fred) Vasseur, too. But certainly with Elkann,” he said.
Hamilton, who has said he sees himself at Mercedes “until my last days”, denied the Ferrari speculation at the time.
He also told reporters in May that his management team were handling contract talks.
It is not unusual for a driver’s representative to investigate other possibilities at a time of contract negotiations.
Verstappen asked in an FIA press conference whether he would have welcomed Hamilton as his teammate, and saw little point in fuelling the discussion.
“There’s no point to make up stories ‘if, if’. It’s not happening,” said the Dutch 26-year-old. “I wouldn’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
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