Verstappen shuts down proposal for Hamilton to join Red Bull F1 team
Max Verstappen on Thursday rejected the notion, rumored and reported in recent days, that his Red Bull team was considering approaching Lewis Hamilton to partner him in a dream line-up in Formula One.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner was quoted in the British media this week claiming that Hamilton’s management team has “reached out” several times, adding that “earlier this year there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest”.
But both Verstappen and Hamilton, speaking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit, scotched the idea that the Briton was on the move from Mercedes.
“It’s not happening,” said Verstappen who has already wrapped up a third successive title.
“There’s no point to make up stories if it’s not happening.
“I wouldn’t mind, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to put it particularly on Lewis. There’s so many great drivers and sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that.”
Hamilton also distanced himself from Horner’s claims that he “reached out” before agreeing to extend his contract with Mercedes.
“I don’t really know where that story has come from,” said the seven-time champion.
“I know it’s come from Christian but I don’t really understand what he’s been talking about.
“No one, as far as I’m aware, from my team has spoken to him. I haven’t spoken to Christian in years.”
Hamilton added that Horner had approached him earlier this season.
“I just congratulated them on an amazing year and said that ‘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.”
He admitted, however, that he would like to compete with Verstappen in equal machinery.
“Yes, 100 percent, I’d be more than happy to race against him in an equal car,” he said.
“Red Bull has done an amazing job and it’s an incredible team — 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 the dream.
“The dream is to start where we (Mercedes) are and build up to then winning. And that’s why I’ve stayed at Mercedes.”
– ‘Final push’ –
Verstappen heads into Sunday’s race bidding for a record-increasing 19th win in 22 races this year.