Lewis Hamilton at Red Bull? That just didn’t happen because a certain Sebastian Vettel was already racing in the Taurus team, and having two pilots of the same level didn’t make sense for the team’s ambitions. The revelation was made by Christian Horner in an interview with the British newspaper Daily Mail, and he also said that he was one of those responsible for encouraging Niki Lauda to bet on the then young Englishman, who was already champion with McLaren.
According to Horner, the talks took place between 2010 and 2013, the year in which Red Bull imposed great dominance in Formula 1 and won four consecutive Drivers’ titles, with Sebastian Vettel, and Constructors. Hamilton, in turn, defended McLaren, and after winning the title in his second year in F1, in 2008, he started looking for new challenges and turned to what, until then, was the best team on the grid.
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“Lewis and I have had a few conversations over the years. From 2010 to 2013, he was very interested in coming to Red Bull,” said Horner. “We had Sebastian back then, and having two Alfa drivers wouldn’t make sense,” he explained.
It was in the same period that the German automaker Mercedes made its debut as a team in F1, following the purchase of Brawn GP. In 2010, the German team’s first driver pairing was formed by Michael Schumacher, returning from retirement, and Nico Rosberg. But initial results were quite modest, with Mercedes finishing the first two seasons fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and fifth in 2012.
With Schumacher decided to stop for good, the Germans began to look for the ideal name to be the seven-time champion’s replacement. “Niki Lauda was at Mercedes and very interested in taking Lewis there. I remember encouraging him to do that,” Horner said.
“We were fighting McLaren, and in 2012 they had the fastest car, and we felt Lewis in a McLaren would be more threatening than in a Mercedes. I encouraged Niki to invest money [em Hamilton], as Lewis was somewhat hesitant. It would be fair to say it backfired for me,” joked Horner, who saw the tables turn in 2014, with the start of the so-called hybrid era. From then on, Mercedes claimed no less than eight Constructors’ championships and saw Hamilton equal Schumacher’s astonishing seven titles.
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