Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Hamilton reveals a rival F1 team tried to sign him for 2019

2019 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has revealed he was approached by one of Mercedes’ top Formula 1 rivals to drive for them next season.

The reigning world champion has announced he will remain at Mercedes for the next two years. But asked today whether Ferrari or Red Bull had tried to sign him for next year he said: “In terms of the other guys approaching, one did.” He did not confirm which.

Hamilton’s previous two contracts with Mercedes were for three years each but his new deal lasts for just two. Hamilton said this was a “strategic decision” to give him options after 2020, at which point Formula 1’s current commercial agreements with teams expire.

“I personally wanted to do two,” he said. “We were talking about doing three but Formula 1 is in quite a… the shapes are shifting a little bit, obviously Formula 1 is not committed to all the teams moving forwards beyond 2021 just yet. And I’m interested to see how that all plays out.

“So it didn’t make sense for me to commit into the unknown even though it’s easy for me to imagine just being with Mercedes so that’s not the issue. Commercially everything could shift, or may not. ”

Hamilton did not rule out staying in F1 beyond 2020.

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“It’s impossible to say where I’m going to be in two years, what I’m going to feel like in two years’ time,” he said.

“All I can tell you is I still feel pretty great. I wasn’t expecting to be as excited as I am now in this signing to extend. I’m also very conscious of how long it is beyond that time.

“I was just sitting above here [in the Mercedes motorhome] doing an interview, looking at the old part of the circuit here. There’s so many great reasons to remain part of this sport. Who knows maybe in two years my life will be completely different and I’ll want completely different things, I couldn’t tell you. Time will tell.”

Hamilton’s new contract gives him the opportunity to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of winning seven world championships. However he denied that had been a consideration.

“For me that just doesn’t… it’s an unimaginable number I would say at the moment. It doesn’t make sense to think that you believe you’re going to win every single championship from now to the end of the contract, whilst that is the goal. That’s a dream, perfect scenario and nothing ever goes perfectly, generally.

“So I didn’t set out in the two years saying that this will be time to do that. I’m going to work towards it.”

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53 comments on “Hamilton reveals a rival F1 team tried to sign him for 2019”

  1. ForzaAlonsoF1
    19th July 2018, 16:49

    So, Ferrari then?

  2. Mercedes and Ferrari are close enough in performance, if he had made the decision to switch to red and managed to win a championship with them it would put he even higher in F1 history. Of course, sticking with Mercedes and helping them to stay on top is not necessarily less challenging or make him less important in F1 history.

  3. Would that be William’s pershaps ? Or Sauber ?

    1. Sush meerkat
      19th July 2018, 20:37


      My money is on Aston Martin

      1. i think what he meant was McLaren, they are the bottom TOP of their history :)

  4. Too bad… I thoughts Seb-Lewis swap was done deal…

  5. Well, it wasn’t Ferrari so it must have been Red Bull.
    If Ferrari wanted him, he would have jumped on it as he stated he always wanted to drive for Red.
    Also, Ferrari always make it known if they want you as with Alonso and Vettel.
    Red Bull would have signed him and let RIC go to Merc I suspect.

    1. RBR even less likely than Ferrari.
      If you read Hamilton’s answer carefully, he does explicitly not confirm it is either one of those.
      If asked about those to specifically he answers “In terms of the other guys approaching”.
      I’m pretty sure it is McLaren then. They want a big name and neither Alonso or Ricciardo (biggish name) is certain.

      1. Makes sense but. How could McLaren offer him or Ric a job before they knew whether ALO would stay? I think it’s a game – HAM was going to opt in unless Ferrari gave him an offer which obviously wasn’t going to happen with VET there.

        1. Maybe they already know Alonso isn’t staying?

    2. I thought he was one of the few drivers that didn’t want to drive for Ferrari

      1. He stated recently it has always been his dream to drive for Ferrari.

    3. Lewis has never said he always wanted to drive for Ferrari

    4. Ben…There is a very good reason to think that it was Ferrari. Based on what Sergio Marchionne an obvious Lewis said, ” Hamilton ending his career with Ferrari would be a privilege.” That’s a very high praise coming from the likes of Marchionne.

      1. Sorry I left out the word fan…… Based on what Sergio Marchionne an obvious Lewis fan said, ” Hamilton ending his career with Ferrari would be a privilege.”

        1. @samouri Hamilton ending his career with Ferrari would be a privilege for him?! :o?

  6. Neil (@neilosjames)
    19th July 2018, 17:51

    Wish he’d moved… in my ideal world he’d have swapped with Vettel. I get bored with top drivers staying at the same place for years and years on end.

  7. I have insider information that McLaren actually approached him to become Eric Boullier’s successor.

    1. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
      19th July 2018, 19:59

      Of course you do.

  8. Also, irrelevant to this, but I read an article on Autosport linking Stroll with a seat at Force India. If that does transpire to be true, then I will lose respect for Force India. Despite having one of the smallest budgets in F1, they have generally chosen drivers based on ability, and not gone down the “Williams” path. Let’s hope it stays that way. But if it does happen, Perez to Haas?

    1. Also if this does happen maybe Kubica to Williams

    2. Leclerc in Haas with magnussen or lecler in ferrari and giovinazzi to haas. I think if FI will choose Stroll, there will be no more space for Perez anymore

      1. I also think Leclerc is going to Haas, the rest will stay where they are.

    3. I know this is an incredibly sketchy source as I just “remember hearing it somewhere” so take it for what it is. The statement was that Perez’s sponsorship money stands for about 40% of Force India’s budget. If someone have the actual numbers it would be interesting. But to me that doesn’t sound completely unreasonable.

      If I had the choice between Perez or Stroll, if the money was roughly equal, I’d pick Stroll actually. I’m not a fan of either of those drivers, but Perez have had many chances to grow up during his career and has not really done so. Stroll at least have time on his side.

      1. Perez is massa level, stroll was and would still be destroyed by massa, don’t think he’ll ever reach that level.

  9. So Team Enstone, upon hearing RIC might be replaced with SAI…..

    1. So SAI to Red Bull & RIC to Alfa Romeo Sauber and a real chance of beating the Bulls.

  10. This is just Lewis trying to get inside Vettel’s head. Ferrari did not approach Lewis and neither did RBR.

    1. Not sure why that would get inside SV’s head. SV would likely expect that teams would approach a contract-free LH, for why not? If you don’t ask you certainly don’t get. All they can do is say no, and then you know and can move on.

      1. Robbie, Lewis thinks it will upset Vettel, get Vettel thinking that Ferrari leadership thinks he isn’t as good as Lewis, that Ferrari wants a new number 1, specifically Lewis. It’s as transparent as window glass, and pretty lame as it lacks any credibility and is so obviously not the case.

        1. Tinfoil hats are out!

    2. I think you are right about Ferrari never approaching him even though he stated a few weeks ago they did.
      Quite frankly, I think not getting an offer for a seat with Ferrari is in Hamilton’s head.

      1. Not getting an offer from a team that hasn’t won anything in over a decade, is truly affecting Hamilton. 🤣🤣

  11. If true, it was McLaren, or Ferrari within 2 years

  12. Got to go to a race and meet Lewis before he retires! I got his autograph in 2017 during the Austrian Gp but I fear that with how the sport is heading, he might lose interest in staying after 2020. I can see him retiring due to the sport heading in the direction he does not want.

    1. Do you mean like levelling the competition as far as is humanly possible? I know, what a terrible thing

  13. If the approach was by one of the other top two teams then I think it has to have been Ferrari. I just cannot see that RBR would have done so as it is not their style or M.O. Especially as they are moving to Honda engines as well.

    If it was not, and Lewis does not say it was specifically, then it could only have been McLaren. I don’t think any other team would want, or even consider, paying such a huge salary to a driver.

    That’s my view anyway.

  14. Rbr offered him a place at toro Ross perhaps? https://media.giphy.com/media/gHDBzZuYWwQp2/giphy.gif

  15. My guess is Mclaren, they badly need a replacement in the likely scenario Fernando Alonso retires at the end of the year.

  16. My money is on Mclaren.

    Ferrari nor Red Bull make any sense, its got to be Mclaren. I think they are being faced with the very real prospect of Fernando walking away from F1, which will be a massive hit for them financially. The only reason Mclaren have managed to attract a “respectable” number of sponsors is down to Alonso’s presence in the team. They have had absolutely f #$ k-all else to sell to their sponsors.

    The fact that they’ve been snooping around proven quantities such as Kimi and Danny Ric sort of makes sense.

  17. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    20th July 2018, 0:08

    The one thing that strikes me with Lewis is that he has never been brave enough to join an ailing team and work to push to the front, like Schumacher did with Ferrari.

    So if he equals 7 titles by end of his new contract then Hamilton will have taken the easy route. Only top teams throughout his entire career (pre F1 and during F1) and a race winning car every season entered (so far) in F1.

    1. Yes, it really takes courage to leave Benetton and go to Ferrari…

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        20th July 2018, 8:15

        It did at the time considering how bad Ferrari were.

      2. Saying it wasn’t risky to leave benetton for ferrari would be the same as saying it wasn’t risky to leave force india or renault for williams or mclaren atm, it doesn’t matter if you move to a team which has been a top team, if it’s no longer a top team. Back in 95 benetton was a top team thanks to schumacher, cause it doesn’t look like his team mates ever did miracles, and ferrari was a tier B team, and you can see that in 96, very bad reliability and performance.

    2. I think there is too much Lemon and not enough peppermint in your statement.

      1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        20th July 2018, 8:17

        Oooh how witty.

        Bet you think it’s chikano time.

        Zing (from the lemon?)

    3. You should look up Robbies views on the schuey move, I find them cogent and believable

  18. My guess – it was probably Renault.

    They seem to have put out a few feelers and need a stronger leader if the want to get back to the top.

    Problem is, like they’ve said about Ricciardo- too expensive for their budget.

  19. It was Ferrari for sure. He will either retire after this contract or go to Ferrari

  20. Gemma St. Ivans
    20th July 2018, 5:35

    I seriously doubt Ferrari or Red Bull made him an offer. It’s all in his inflated head.

  21. I was expecting to see Hamilton vs Vettel battle in the same Ferrari performance. The next 2 years Mercedes would be nowhere near the peak of Ferrari. Mercedes holy PU of 1,000hp already exceeded by Ferrari this year, extracting more from Mercedes PU will yield reliability issue as it’s their bottleneck.

  22. Am i incorrect to say that people in and out of the paddock were wondering why Lewis left mclaren for mercedese? Was that not a gamble at the time? Mercedese was not a championship winning team at the time…. I may be wrong tho..

  23. This would be a slick mind trick to play on rival teams.

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