Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2023

Hamilton accuses Horner of “stirring” with claim he asked to join Red Bull

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Lewis Hamilton has denied claims his management team approached Red Bull about the possibility of joining the world champions.

The Mercedes driver responded to a claim made by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, reported by the Daily Mail, that Hamilton’s representatives made contact with them earlier this year.

“I don’t really know where that story’s come from,” Hamilton told Sky. “I mean, 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 continued. “However, 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, I hope… 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.”

Hamilton made it clear “there weren’t any confidential discussions” between him and Red Bull. “You know Christian, he loves that kind of stuff.”

Horner has previously expressed scepticism about the value of having two “alpha” drivers in the same team. He has stated several in recent months the team intends to stand by Sergio Perez’s contract to drive for them in 2024, despite him scoring less than half as many points as Verstappen so far this year.

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Hamilton, who signed a new two-year deal to drive for Mercedes this year, said he would be “100% would be more than happy to race against [Verstappen] in an equal car.” However his preference is to remain with his current team and turn around a slump in form which has seen them win just one race since the start of last season.

New podium, Yas Marina, 2023
Gallery: First pictures from the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
“For me, moving to Red Bull – [they’ve] done an amazing job and it is an incredible team and any driver would would love to drive for such a great group of people – [but] I think moving from a car that’s not so great to a winning car, from my perspective, that’s not the dream.

“The dream is always to start where we kind of are and build up to them winning and that’s why I’ve stayed with Mercedes.”

Verstappen was unwilling to be drawn on his team principal’s claim Hamilton had approached them about a drive. “What would it add to know?” he said when asked. “It’s not happening so there’s no point to make up stories ‘if, if’… it’s not happening.

“I wouldn’t mind, it doesn’t matter, anyone. I don’t want to put it like now particularly on Lewis, there are so many great drivers as well. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that.”

In the same report, Horner is also quoted claiming Hamilton made an approach to Ferrari chairman John Elkann. In May Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur denied they had offered the seven-times world champion a deal.

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Keith Collantine
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30 comments on “Hamilton accuses Horner of “stirring” with claim he asked to join Red Bull”

  1. > daily mail

    Good source. Can’t believe this is news.

  2. Whether it was actually asked or not, Hamilton wouldn’t ever risk getting hammered by Verstappen in a direct comparison.

    1. In genuinely equal cars, it would be highly likely even a 37-year-old Hamilton would beat Verstappen across a full season. Verstappen would likely crumble once pushed.

      1. Hi Paul how delusional on a scale of 10 to 10?

        1. I don’t understand this view, F1 Fan. The last time Lewis and Max had cars of comparable competitiveness, they were nip and tuck all season, until the sharp end, when Max choked.

          1. they were nip and tuck all season

            untill Silverstone Max was in great form and shape.
            After the abhorrent action by lewis things changed…

          2. true, max did actually choke at the end

          3. @seth-space: Until Silverstone, Hamilton was letting Verstappen bully him off the track.

      2. @paulguitar

        Last I checked Max wiped the floor with Lewis in lesser material to the point Lewis had to resort to some very dirty antics.

        Remember guys, this is a marathon not a sprint………..

        1. You might want to check again, Chloe, because that’s complete nonsense.

      3. I don’t see that happening. Max’ stats speak for itself and then there is an age advantage on top. Nothing against Hamilton but seems unrealistic. That said I do understand Lewis would like to give it a try.

        1. All we really know about MV since he got a colossal car advantage is that he is a lot better than Perez.

          He’s done an excellent job, but he’s barely been breaking a sweat.

    2. I think he would, but not in the Red Bull – let’s say they both join Ferrari at the same time. Would be mighty interesting and I think a really close battle!

      1. Yes, I agree with this,@streydt. The second Red Bull seat appears to be something of a nightmare for any driver. It would really require a fresh start at a new team for us to gauge their relative performance.

    3. There’s no direct comparison at Red Bull.
      Max is their boy, has been for years. Do you think they would hire someone, anyone, out of the blue, and put in the other car with equal treatment?

      Not in this lifetime.

    4. Both you (shirtdog) and paulguitar have ridiculous arguments. Max was far from unbeatable or mistake free until he got a dominant car. Likewise, Hamilton wasn’t unbeatable without a dominant car, but everyone was just as delusionally high on him as they are on Max when he had the best car. The obvious reality is that it would be an extremely close competition. Max, Lewis and Fernando have all shown the difference in competitiveness between all three would likely come down to luck and reliability.

      1. I think it would be close, Nick, and I think Hamilton would be the winner. What is the ‘ridiculous’ argument that you see here?

      2. I just watched a interesting YouTube vid by Mr V, he applied the ELO rating (well know from chess championships) to all of F1 history.

        Now you can of course say that the model is flawed (and which isn’t?) but it is objective and impartial

        Fred tops the list a bit above JM Fangio (I would not have expected that!) and Max is 4th. It is unclear exactly where the Diva goes but does not make the top eighteen. James Hunt is 18th with a 1252 ELO score. the Diva has a ELO score of 1240 so it should come somewhat below the top 20.

        Which is extremely generous if you ask me, I would not consider the Diva even for the top 200 of all time, but hey, I do not pretend to be objective and impartial. No human is. And much as I like Fred, I would put Fangio on top of him. And Alain Prost. And Jim Clark. Maybe nobody else.

        1. Coventry Climax
          24th November 2023, 1:07

          I never particularly liked the Electric Light Orchestra.

          1. Great band, ELO!

            Have absolutely no idea what the lunatic above is talking about though.

          2. Massive car advantage

            And you call me lunatic LOL

          3. The current Red Bull is the most dominant car in decades, melanos.

            Quite amazing you were unaware of that.

  3. Even if it’s true and Hamilton approached Red Bull before extending his contract with Mercedes, what’s the big deal? Hamilton, like every other driver, wants to compete with the best car possible and he thought he saw an opening in the current top team.

    I hate this double-standard so much: when an employer fires a person over performance or costs, they will usually say “don’t complain, it’s strictly business”, but when the employee quits or seeks a better placement, the employer will whine and say that said employee should have been a “team player” or more considerate. If Hamilton’s performance drops off a cliff, do you think the Mercedes executives will say “geez, he’s not a good driver anymore, but since he has done so much for us we will keep him”? Power to the drivers!

    1. I totally agree. I don’t understand what Horner is hoping to gain from this kind of “stirring”. I don’t think anyone at Mercedes really cares about Hamilton having discussions with other teams also.

      Even if the story is true, it would only mean that RB skipped the opportunity to have the two best drivers in the same team. From a marketing perspective, it would make more sense for RB to have both their drivers fighting for WDC next year, as it is likely that their car is going to be dominant once again. Their 2023 season was impressive for sure, but I don’t think anyone other than hardcore Verstappen fans wants to see another season like this.

      1. Verstappen himself said he hopes the next seasons are more exciting..

  4. If anything, this would look bad on Horner for making this public. And now it looks it didn’t even happen.

    1. He should have some proof to show. I mean, Toto would have printed it out…

  5. It would be surprising if someone from Hamilton’s side wasn’t putting out feelers to other teams if for no other reason than to strengthen his bargaining position with Mercedes and extract the maximum pay day possible.

    Horner, on the other hand, comes out of it looking untrustworthy. This is the kind of mistake you make when you’re on top and feel untouchable, but it will come back to hurt him.

    1. From another article, it appears that Anthony Hamilton approached Red Bull. As far as I know, Anthony Hamilton hasn’t been Lewis’s manager since 2011.

  6. Talking to other teams is the job of people who represent Hamilton. If nothing else, it increases the price they can get out of Mercedes. And these guys are likely also angling for some sort of commission. It’s all in the game.

    Was it ever serious? Who knows. Perhaps even Hamilton doesn’t know, as it was never something that got to the stage where he had to weigh in.

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