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Hamilton ‘reached out’ to Red Bull about joining forces with Verstappen, claims Horner

Lewis Hamilton’s representatives “reached out” to Red Bull to explore a shock move to the team before he extended his contract with Mercedes earlier this year, Christian Horner has claimed.

Hamilton’s future with Mercedes – and in Formula One in general – was seen as being in doubt before he signed a two-year contract extension in August.

The seven-time world champion has endured a difficult two years since losing his title to Max Verstappen in controversial circumstances at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while Red Bull have gone from strength to strength.

Red Bull have won 20 of 21 races this year, with only Carlos Sainz’s triumph at the Singapore Grand Prix denying them a shot at a perfect season. Hamilton, meanwhile, has repeatedly expressed his frustrations with Mercedes’ last two cars and has only managed six podium finishes in 2023.

Red Bull team principal Horner has now revealed the team held tentative talks with Hamilton earlier this year, but claimed they were reluctant to pair him with his long-time rival Verstappen.

“We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining,” Horner said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an enquiry about whether there would be any interest.

“But I can’t see Max and Lewis working out together. The dynamic wouldn’t be right. We are 100 per cent happy with what we have.”

Red Bull were not the only team presented with the opportunity to sign Hamilton, according to Horner, with more serious talks taking place between the 38-year-old and Ferrari.

“He met [Ferrari chairman] John Elkann, too. I think there were serious talks,” he added.

“It was around Monaco. There were definitely conversations, perhaps with [Ferrari team principal Frederic] Vasseur, too, but certainly with Elkann.”

Hamilton has one last chance to avoid back-to-back winless seasons when the 2023 campaign wraps up in Abu Dhabi this weekend, having already secured third place in the drivers’ championship.

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Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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