Christian Horner rates chances of Lewis Hamilton joining Red Bull when Mercedes deal ends

As one of the most valuable athletes in sport edges closer to free agency, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is sure to be among those keeping an eye on Lewis Hamilton ‘s contract situation.

The seven-time world champion has repeatedly hinted at his desire to extend with Mercedes, but as things stand, his 11-year association with the team will cease at the end of 2023. Horner was recently asked about the prospect of bringing his biggest rival’s star driver to Milton Keynes should that happen, but the Red Bull boss appeared content with the assets at his disposal.

“What he has achieved in F1 is second to none,” Horner told Sky News. “We are very happy with the drivers that we have. They are committed as a pair for this and next season so I can’t see where we would be able to accommodate Lewis. I am sure they will sort their issues out and we are certainly not writing him off yet.”

One can hardly judge Horner for feeling no immediate inclination to change Red Bull’s set-up, with the outfit already in firm control of the standings after the first two races of the season. Defending champion Max Verstappen leads the way, one point ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, having each finished on either side of a one-two finish in Bahrain (where Verstappen won) and Saudi Arabia (Perez).

The RB19 most certainly isn’t broke—as Hamilton himself attested after Saudi Arabia—so there’s unlikely to be much ‘fixing’ performed at Milton Keynes. The only mending that may be required pertains to the relationship between Perez and Verstappen, which appears frosty once again after the latter voiced his distaste at finishing second in Jeddah on Sunday.

To his credit, Horner is hardly counting his chickens despite the team making an all but perfect start to the new campaign. Likewise, he isn’t discounting a resurgence from Mercedes nor Hamilton, who has so far had to settle for successive fifth-place finishes.

Where do you think Lewis Hamilton will finish in the drivers’ standings this season? Let us know in the comments section.

christian horner rates chances of lewis hamilton joining red bull when mercedes deal ends

Lewis Hamilton could become a highly desirable asset should he leave Mercedes later this year

“It is so early in the season, we have only had two races so far. I am sure it is going to ebb and flow but we are hopeful we can extract more performances from the car,” added the Red Bull boss. “I have no doubt that the opposition will be coming back quickly, particularly in the European season. We are hearing about Mercedes upgrades and I am sure Ferrari won’t be completely happy with their current position either.”

There’s only so much drivers can do to impact their positions in the table, with Mercedes’ design flaws last season causing Hamilton to not win a race for the first time in his career. Red Bull were superior in adapting to change as the term progressed, though there’s nothing to suggest Mercedes and others can’t do the same in 2023.

christian horner rates chances of lewis hamilton joining red bull when mercedes deal ends

Christian Horner insisted he’s content with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez as his driving team for the foreseeable

“The regulations are still relatively young so I am expecting to see a number of conversions over the year and I am expecting the grid to tighten up,” Horner reiterated. “We need to make hay while the sun shines at the moment and keep pushing through.”

For all his obvious talent in the cockpit, there’s also the argument to suggest Hamilton’s best days are behind him at 38 years of age, and his huge wages would be an unnecessary expense for Red Bull. That’s almost certain to be the case should the team successfully defend its constructors’ title this year, with team changes unlikely as long as Verstappen (contracted until the end of 2028) and Perez (2024) remain loyal to the cause.

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