Lewis Hamilton has denied Christian Horner’s claim that he inquired about a Red Bull drive earlier this year, adding that raising his name always “makes waves”.
Earlier this week, Horner told the Daily Mail that a representative from Hamilton’s camp had been in contact regarding the Briton’s interest in courting a move to Red Bull.
“We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining,” he said. “They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.
However, Hamilton has categorically refuted Horner’s version of events, instead revealing that the Red Bull team boss had actually been the one who originally contacted him.
Asked if he had approached Red Bull about a 2024 seat at any stage, Hamilton replied: “No, I did not. I’ve checked with everybody in the team and nobody has spoken to them. But they have tried to reach out to us.”
He added: “Basically I picked up my old phone which I just found at home that had my old number on it. I switched it on and obviously loads of messages come through and I realised there was one from Christian to get together and have a chat at the end of the season.
“Initially I just replied on my new phone, ‘Congratulations on an amazing season and I hope we are able to compete with you soon’. And he replied repeating the same thing.”
Horner suggested that a blockbuster line-up of Hamilton alongside Max Verstappen was not something Red Bull would consider as “the dynamic wouldn’t be right” in the team.
Although Verstappen admitted he “wouldn’t mind” any driver as his team-mate, Hamilton believes that the Dutchman would prefer to avoid going up against him in the same car.
“I’d be more than happy to race against Max in the same car, that would be wonderful,” Hamilton commented. “But I don’t think he wants to be his team-mate.”
Horner also divulged that “serious” talks had taken place between Hamilton and Ferrari, even noting that the Briton had been talking with the Maranello camp as late as May.
While he was open on his relationship with the Ferrari hierarchy, Hamilton again dismissed that he had been embroiled in any negotiations outside of Mercedes.
“I know John [Elkann, Ferrari president] pretty well, we met years ago in the Google camp, I went to the Google camp in Sicily and that’s when our friendship started and we’ve always remained in touch,” he explained.
I’ve known Fred [Vasseur, Ferrari Team Principal] since 2005 and we’ve always had a really great relationship and we’ve talked often, since, particularly more since he joined F1 because after I left his team, we would talk all the time obviously when I was in his team and I came to Formula 1 and you have less contact with the Formula 2 series, but since he’s been back, we’ve met here, we’ve travelled together with Toto.
“So, yeah, we’ve had that and that’s really as far as it goes.”
Upon the news reaching the media, Hamilton stressed that he immediately spoke to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to reaffirm his commitment to the Brackley camp.
“I did tell Toto, especially when the story broke, because I have so much respect for Toto, we have a great relationship,” he said. “Also want my team to know because if people think those things it’s never positive”
Meanwhile, Hamilton contends that he’s “not really” surprised that Horner has been discussing his future, citing that simply mentioning his name generates headlines.
“If you really think about it, there’s a lot of people here that love to drop my name in many conversations because they know it’s gonna make waves,” he remarked. “And if you are a little bit lonely, and are not getting much attention, that’s the perfect thing to do, just mention my name.”