Hamilton reveals Mercedes legacy consideration behind Red Bull snub

Lewis Hamilton hasn't won an F1 race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP thanks to the dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen

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Lewis Hamilton claimed moving to Red Bull and winning a record-breaking eighth world championship wouldn’t do much to improve his Formula 1 legacy compared to rebuilding Mercedes into the best team in the world after Christian Horner‘s bombshell claims.

Hamilton sensationally switched from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013, jumping ship from the team that had supported him from karting to an F1 title to one that had won just a single one race in the past three seasons.

The gamble obviously paid off in the form of six more drivers’ championships at Brackley, but after Horner claimed Hamilton sounded out Red Bull and Ferrari before extending his Mercedes contract to 2025 he said he was committed to restoring the team to its former glory.

“I think hopefully signing was just showed my commitment to the team,” Hamilton told the media. “Let’s be, realistic every single driver that’s racing dreams of being in the winning car.

“I think probably in my younger days when I maybe hadn’t had a lot of success, maybe in those McLaren days it would have been a lot more attractive just from a racing perspective and just kind of my viewpoint on things.

“Obviously when I moved to this team, I enjoyed moving from a more successful team to a team that hadn’t had success with the vision of growing and building with the team because when we did that, it was just such a better feeling.

“Working with my team to build, to be able to beat them, I think would be better for my legacy.”

Hamilton admits he’d love to drive the RB19

Sergio Perez overtakes Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the 2023 Brazilian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Hamilton did admit he’d love to experience the RB19, which will cement its place as the most dominant car in F1 history if it can win the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That title is currently held (at least on paper) by the McLaren MP4/4, which won 15 out of 16 races in 1988 and was only denied the clean sweep by Jean-Louis Schlesser taking Ayrton Senna out at Monza with the Brazilian on course for victory.

That meant they finished the season with a 94% win rate, having also picked up ten 1-2 finishes over the course of the season.

Red Bull can’t match that feat, but they can round out 2023 with a 95% win rate if odds-on favourite Max Verstappen or Sergio Perez can take victory at the Yas Marina Circuit, and Hamilton said he’d love to get a chance to unleash the RB19.

“Every driver here looks at the Red Bull car and would love to drive that car, and I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love to drive that car and experience how good that car is,” Hamilton added. “Every driver would feel that.

“I feel like we’ve had two really difficult years and if we work towards beating that car, that’s going to be a way better feeling than just stepping into the best car.

“I just don’t think that would do much for me in, in the sense of just stepping into the car that’s been the most dominant car of all time.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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