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Hamilton: '100% I want to drive against Verstappen in an equal car'

23 November at 12:42
Last update 23 November at 13:07
  • Ludo van Denderen

A remarkable comment from Christian Horner: a representative of Lewis Hamilton is said to have inquired at Red Bull Racing during his contract negotiations with Mercedes whether a spot was available next to Max Verstappen. When asked, Red Bull Racing does not retract those statements, while Hamilton in turn denies everything.

"I don't really know where that story's come from. I know it's come from Christian but 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 in years. However, he did reach out to me earlier in the year about meeting up. But that's it. I just congratulate them on an amazing year. And I 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," Hamilton responded to Sky Sports.

Hamilton compliments Red Bull Racing

According to Hamilton, Horner likes to make such statements, but the Brit reiterates: there have been no talks about a switch. At the same time, if the opportunity did arise to teammate Max Verstappen, Hamilton would not say no to it, the seven-time champion also confesses.

"100% would be more than happy to race against him in an equal car. For me, Red Bull has done an amazing job and it is an incredible team. And any driver would love to drive for such a great group of people. 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 where we kind of are and build up to then winning. And that's why I've stayed with Mercedes."

'Horner wanted to have a chat'

After his interview with Sky Sports, Hamilton spoke to other media including GPblog - who also asked him about the situation with Red Bull. Once again the Briton denied that his people had contacted Christian Horner. "I've checked with everyone on the team, and no one's spoken to them. But they have tried to reach out to us."

How did the contact go? "I picked up my old phone, which I've just found at home that had my old number on it. And I switched it on, and obviously hundreds of messages came through. And I realised there was one from Christian to get together and have a chat at the end of the season."

Hamilton spoke to Wolff about Horner

Hamilton has now been in contact with his team boss Toto Wolff to discuss Horner's approach. "I did tell Toto, especially when the story obviously broke, just because I have so much respect for Toto. We have a great relationship. Also wanted my team to know because people think those things and it's never positive. Initially I just replied to him on my new phone. It was after a weekend, I can't remember, but it was quite late on that I found the message. But it was from earlier on in the year. So it was like months later. And I just said congratulations. Congratulations on an amazing season. And I hope I can get to compete with you soon. And he replied repeating the same thing."

When asked whether the pair will still have coffee, Hamilton responds: "Probably not." And would Hamilton dare to drive with Verstappen in one team? "I don't know if it's a bond, but I'd be more than happy to race against Max in the same car. It would be wonderful. I don't think he wants me to do it."