Sebastian Vettel has revealed that he held talks with the Mercedes Formula 1 team several years ago about potentially joining the team.
Following a successful stint at Red Bull where he won four consecutive World Championships, Vettel switched to Ferrari in 2015 with the hope of ending the Italian squad’s title drought.
Despite winning multiple races for the Scuderia outfit, Vettel’s title bids in 2017 and 2018 failed as he finished second-best to Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton has dominated much of the turbo-hybrid era, winning six of his seven titles since the 2014 season.
Speaking to the Beyond The Grid podcast, Vettel says that he spoke to the late Niki Lauda years ago about joining Hamilton at the team.
“Maybe there was [a chance], I spoke with Niki,” Vettel said. “But to be honest, it was halfway through the Ferrari period.
“Obviously it would have been a big deal, because Lewis was their Number 1 [drvier], and I’m not sure whether they would have liked to have us both in the team.”
However, Vettel says that he was committed to his Ferrari pledge as he looked to emulate his racing hero Michael Schumacher, who enjoyed great success with the team.
“But I also didn’t have great interest at that time, because I was so committed to Ferrari,” he said. “That was my dream to make that thing work so you talk to each other but it wasn’t really serious.
“I think it would have been a great challenge and I think I would have enjoyed that but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“My focus was to win with Ferrari. I didn’t want to change team and win with Mercedes, but it just didn’t happen. I am cool with that.
“I think I would have enjoyed racing with Lewis, we get along really well, and our moment was the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where we had maybe what you would call nowadays a ‘misunderstanding!’”
The incident that Vettel referred to was when he deliberately hit Hamilton with his car under a Safety Car period after believing the Mercedes driver had brake-checked him.