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Formula 1: Horner rows back in the self-ignited Hamilton discussion

Formula 1 “Just pleasantries”

Horner rows back in the self-ignited Hamilton discussion

Status: 24.11.2023 | Reading time: 3 minutes

Was Lewis Hamilton exploring his alternatives to Mercedes? Of all people, the team boss of the biggest competitor gave this impression

Quelle: Getty Images/Clive Rose

Did Lewis Hamilton want to leave Mercedes? Christian Horner conveyed this impression. Now the Red Bull team boss is providing explanations for his spicy statements. Hamilton has his own way of looking at things.

After the uproar surrounding Red Bull and record world champion Lewis Hamilton, Christian Horner knew that this question would come. The team boss himself had fueled the speculation with his statements about contacting Hamilton’s environment before he signed a new contract with the German Formula 1 racing team Mercedes. “It is remarkable how well received this has been,” said the 50-year-old Briton on Friday in the paddock of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Horner couldn’t help but grin smugly and thanked the British tabloid for taking on the – if everything were like that – juicy matter. The only problem: It was said to have been just pleasantries between him and Hamilton’s father, nothing serious. “Unless Anthony wanted to drive for us.”

But there is no free space at Red Bull anyway. In 2024, when Hamilton would be only too happy to restore the previous ranking with Mercedes and win his eighth world title, Sergio Pérez should drive again alongside three-time world champion Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull.

Christian Horner is in charge of Red Bull

Quelle: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

So far so good? Not quite. Horner had previously said in the Daily Mail that there had been several discussions over the years about a possible move for Hamilton. “You asked a few times. The last time we asked if there was interest was at the beginning of the year,” he was quoted as saying.

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Horner also reported on alleged Hamilton discussions with Ferrari. The impression arose that Hamilton would have wanted to explore his chances with the competition before continuing his commitment to the Mercedes factory team, for which he has been driving since 2013. And that after he had always emphasized his strong connection to Mercedes.

Hardly any cooling down during the winter break

It was foreseeable what all of this would trigger, especially since the crucial questions about sporting events had long since been clarified. The relationship between the current industry leader Red Bull and the left-behind former industry leader Mercedes, which is fighting for second place behind Red Bull in the constructors’ championship in the last of the 22 races of the season this year, is not characterized by the greatest affection.

Horner and his counterpart, 51-year-old Toto Wolff, are by far the most successful team bosses in the current paddock, both are doers, both do not avoid conflicts. The persistently heated relationship is unlikely to cool down during the winter break.

Horner made sure of that. “I have known Anthony Hamilton for many years,” he emphasized. “He is a good guy, a proud driver father and it is inevitable that questions will arise in the paddock when a driver is going through difficult times.” You “don’t have to be a rocket scientist” to figure that out.

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After all, Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won a race for two years, Horner mentioned again at the Yas Marina Circuit. There, where Hamilton’s victory and thus the title was snatched away from Verstappen in the last lap of the final in 2021 in a memorable showdown after controversial decisions by the race director.

Hamilton himself reacted rather calmly to Horner’s statements in the British newspaper, which reported on Friday about “intrigues everywhere” and denied that he or his personal team had contacted him. Instead – according to Hamilton’s description – Horner wrote him a message saying that we could sit down and talk at the end of the season. What this was supposed to be about remained unclear.

“There are a lot of people who like to drop my name in conversations because they know it will make waves,” said Hamilton in Abu Dhabi: “If you’re a little lonely and don’t get much attention, it’s perfect, to say my name.” And he also grinned smugly.

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