Hamilton stirs up trouble

Hamilton stirs up trouble

INTRIGUE everywhere. First, Christian Horner claims Lewis Hamilton’s people contacted him to see if there might be a seat available at the world championship-winning Red Bull team.

Then, yesterday, ahead of the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton makes the counter-claim that Horner got in touch with him, citing a convoluted story about an old phone on which he belatedly recovered a message from his would-be suitor.

And into the mix, Hamilton’s extraordinary claim that Horner was acting mischievously out of loneliness — a random and poisonous accusation that seems to have come from nowhere particularly.

This was the fallout from our exclusive story in which Horner recalled a message he received earlier in the year when Hamilton’s contract negotiations at Mercedes were long drawn out, prior to his finally signing for £100million in total for the next two seasons.

Asked if he had approached Red Bull, Hamilton said: ‘No. I did not. I checked with everyone in my team and nobody has spoken to them but they have tried to reach out to us.’

The first part of that statement is technically true, but a Red Bull spokesman last night confirmed that it was Hamilton’s father Anthony, rather than a paid member of his staff, who got in touch with Horner. Asked about the situation, Hamilton said: ‘Christian messaged me. I would be more than happy to race against Max Verstappen in the same car. That would be wonderful. But I don’t think he wants me to be his team-mate.’

The plot thickens, with Hamilton claiming: ‘I picked up my old phone which I just found at home. It has my old number. I switched it on and hundreds of messages came through and one was from Christian to get together and have a catch-up at the end of the season.’

Why Horner would want to chit-chat with him at the end of the campaign is unclear. Pressed on whether Horner had specifically brought up the idea of driving for them, Hamilton repeated: ‘He just said about having a catch-up.’

Asked if he thought it strange Horner had mentioned his name this week, the Briton said: ‘Not really. There are a lot of people here who like to drop my name in conversation because they know it will make waves.

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