Lewis Hamilton has given more insight into the message he says he received from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner earlier this year.
Horner gave an interview to the Daily Mail in which he claimed Hamilton’s team reached out to Red Bull over potential talks as his contract with Mercedes came to an end in 2023, before signing a new deal with the Silver Arrows.
Hamilton has denied this, accusing Horner of “stirring things” and saying the Red Bull team boss was the one to get in contact with him.
Lewis Hamilton offers context behind Christian Horner text message
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Having taken umbrage with Horner’s version of events, Hamilton was asked in more detail about it when speaking to assembled media ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver recalled coming back from a race weekend earlier this season and finding a message from the Red Bull team principal, though he had switched phone numbers and it was one of “hundreds” of messages he had received at this point.
He remains adamant that his representatives did not make contact with Horner and Red Bull, as the team principal claimed.
“I checked with everyone on the team, and no-one has spoken to them, but they have tried to reach out to us,” Hamilton told media including PlanetF1.com.
“I picked up my old phone, which I just found at home that had my old number and I switched it on and obviously hundreds of messages came through, and I realised there was one from Christian [saying] to get together and have a chat at the end of the season.”
Horner hinted in the interview that Hamilton had also been speaking to Ferrari before landing on a contract extension with Mercedes, but the seven-time World Champion did not find that strike an odd chord for a rival team principal to be talking about his future, explaining that his name often brings a certain currency with it in Formula 1.
He also let his current boss Toto Wolff know that Horner had messaged, to assuage any concerns about his loyalty to the Mercedes cause.
“Not really,” Hamilton responded when asked if it was ‘strange’ to hear Horner discuss his contractual situation, when it was not his concern.
“I think if you really think about it, there’s a lot of people here that like to drop my name in many conversations, because they know it’s going to make waves.
“And if you’re a little bit lonely and don’t get paid much attention, that’s what they tend to do, just mention my name.
“I did tell Toto, especially when the story broke, just because I have so much respect for Toto, we have a great relationship.
“I also want my team to know, because people think those things and it’s never positive, and initially, I just replied to him on my new phone.
“It was after a weekend, I can’t remember, it was quite late on that I found the message, but it was from earlier on in the year.
“I just said ‘congratulations on an amazing season, and I hope we’re able to compete with you soon.’ And he replied, repeating the same thing.”