Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton chose not to sign with Red Bull because he knew he would not be able to beat Max Verstappen in the same car.
This is the opinion of renowned F1 journalist Peter Windsor, who has attributed Verstappen’s close relationship with design chief Adrian Newey as being a leading contributor to Hamilton not considering joining the Milton Keynes-based outfit.
Hamilton’s future has been subject of speculation in recent months and while he was expected to sign an extension with Mercedes ahead of the current season, talks have not resulted in anything concrete yet.
Naturally, with his contract running out at the end of 2023 and with the huge brand appeal he can offer any team on the grid, the seven-time world champion has been linked with some of the Silver Arrows’ rivals.
While Hamilton’s personal affinity towards Ferrari known to all, they were one of the teams he was rumoured to be interested in joining in a deal worth £40million per year.
On his part, Hamilton has rubbished these rumours linking him with a switch to the Maranello.
However, with Red Bull performing so well in recent times, there has been some talk about Hamilton racing for them alongside two-time world champion Max Verstappen.
Windsor has alluded to the impeccable relationship between Verstappen and Newey which would dissuade Hamilton from making such a switch even if he was given an offer.
“Well, in order for them to be team-mates, it would mean Lewis obviously joining Red Bull. And in that situation, I think it would be Max,” Windsor said on his YouTube channel.
“Because Max has this symbiotic relationship with Adrian [Newey], and for sure with Christian [Horner, Red Bull team principal], but more importantly with Adrian, because Adrian is the guy.
“And Max knows Adrian’s brain pretty well and for sure, Adrian knows Max pretty well. And there’s only one Adrian and Lewis would be chiming into that, to some extent, and he’d be getting in his racing car and it would feel great, much better than the Mercedes, and he might out-qualify Max by a tenth or two.
“But in terms of overall in a season, it would be almost impossible I think to beat the Max Verstappen-Adrian Newey partnership, even if you’re Lewis Hamilton, or George Russell, or Charles Leclerc, or anybody, because it’s not just Max, and it’s not just Adrian – it’s the two of them together.”
Any talk about Hamilton’s future away from Mercedes seemed unlikely a couple of years, as the Stevenage-born driver looked destined to see out his career with the Silver Arrows.
However, Mercedes’ struggles over the past couple of seasons and contract negotiations getting far more prolonged than initially expected, there may yet be a chance that he does not feature for the Brackley-based outfit next season.
Hamilton recently spoke about some positive news regarding his discussions with Mercedes.
“We had a good meeting just recently. They are very complex contracts. It’s not just a simple driving contract,” he said.
“We have talked several times. We have a great relationship. It will get done when it’s done. If that’s next week, in a month’s time, as long as it’s done I’m not really bothered.”