Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has revealed that triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was desperate to drive for the Austrian team in 2012 and 2013 before signing for Mercedes. The Briton, who had spent his entire career with McLaren, left them to join the Brackley-based team in 2013 with whom he has enjoyed tremendous success in the past two seasons.
Hamilton has won back-to-back Drivers' titles with the Mercedes team, which had won just one race in three seasons after the car manufacturer took over the Brawn Racing team that was owned by former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn. But Horner has revealed that the British driver was desperate for a drive with the all-conquering Red Bull team, which won four back-to-back titles with Sebastian Vettel at the helm between 2010-2013.
"He was desperate to drive for the team. In 2012, he wanted to come and drive for us, but there was no way we could accommodate him while Sebastian was with us. Then before he signed for Mercedes he was very keen to drive for Red Bull for 2013," Horner said, as quoted on ESPN F1.
The Austrian-owned outfit's team principal has also admitted that his plan of weakening McLaren backfired following Mercedes dominance in the V6 turbo era, which was introduced at the start of the 2014 campaign. McLaren were Red Bull's closest competitors during their dominant years, and Hamilton's move to the Silver Arrows team was looked at as a step back. However, while the Briton has gone on to enjoy multiple race wins and championships, his former team has not won a race since 2012.
"The McLaren had been very competitive in 2011 and 2012 and I thought it would probably be better for us for him to be at Mercedes than McLaren, so in the event of us not being able to sign him I encouraged Niki Lauda to sign him to weaken McLaren - not envisaging that Mercedes would become the absolute powerhouse they are today," the Red Bull team principal added.