July 23, 2024

Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner claimed before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that Lewis Hamilton contacted his team over a potential switch before signing a new Mercedes deal

Johnny Herbert is convinced Lewis Hamilton will remain with Mercedes for the rest of his career despite claims the Brit sought talks with their main Formula 1 rivals.

Christian Horner claimed Hamilton had been in touch with his Red Bull team prior to signing a fresh contract extension with the Silver Arrows. The team boss also asserted that rumours the Brit had held talks with Ferrari were also true.

However, Hamilton retaliated, accusing the Red Bull CEO of “stirring things”. In response, he said, “I’m not sure where that story originated. Since no one from my team has spoken to him as far as I know, I have no idea what he is talking about. It’s been years since I’ve really spoken to him.

“He did make contact with me about getting together earlier in the year, but that’s all. I wished to fight Red Bull in the upcoming years and congratulated him on a fantastic year. There was no more private conversation after that.

Herbert, an F1 commentator for Sky Sports and a former racer, is certain that the seven-time world champion has no intention of leaving Mercedes. “Being aware of Lewis’s character, I know he is dedicated to the team and will do everything in his power to support the move to a better place,” he said to Genting Casino.

“I have never witnessed him exhibit extreme frustration or a change in character. He is the epitome of professionalism, and I doubt you’ve ever seen him toss the dummy. He’s clearly heard good things about the car for next year, so perhaps that will get him what he wants.”

Mercedes needs to make some progress in order to catch Red Bull anytime soon. Since the RB19 has been the fastest car on the grid all year, Hamilton has acknowledged that Mercedes will have a difficult task ahead of them if they want to catch up to their competitors in 2024.

Herbert, though, isn’t ready to rule Hamilton and his squad out of a championship match just yet. If everything goes according to plan, he thinks the team has the experience and their driver has the motivation to make it happen.

“There is always a chance that Mercedes can beat Red Bull next season,” he continued. “Yes, Mercedes has the right ingredients—their know-how and technology at the factory and on the racetrack. They have what it takes, but it will be difficult to surpass Red Bull’s almost flawless formula.

“I believe they can overcome Red Bull in due course, but the past two years have demonstrated that they are unable to effectively address their issues. Although it is not the intended outcome, Lewis Hamilton might place second. There will be no consideration of coming in second. His entire focus is on defeating Max Verstappen, taking the fight to him, and winning the eighth title for himself.”

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