Lewis Hamilton has revealed he dismissed an approach from either Ferrari or Red Bull before signing his new contract with Mercedes.
A new two-year contract for the reigning world champion was confirmed on Thursday in Hockenheim ahead of Mercedes’ home race at the German Grand Prix. The confirmation came after months of negotiation, with Hamilton admitting that he was the reason talks dragged on from the winter for around half a year.
“I decided to take my time with it,” Hamilton said. “When you have such a big decision, it’s not something you can do in a couple of weeks. You could, but ultimately when you make a decision you always say ‘Oh shoot, I should have thought about that and I should have thought about that’. My negotiations were the longest I have eked it out, but it wasn’t like we were talking every week during that whole period of time.
“We started having the discussion at the beginning of the year, we spoke about a few months later, we spoke about it for a couple of days and then we put it off for another few races so we could revisit it after we got past a few races.
“I just kept delaying it. I had a contract in place, so I just didn’t feel like I had to rush. It was just like I would do when I’m ready and when we are ready. Eventually when we sat down at home we got through it real quick, but the lawyers always make it way longer than it needs to be, but me and Toto [Wolff] rushed through things real quick…
“It might have been before or after Monaco. Then there were bits here and there where I was like ‘Hey, Toto can I change this or can we do this instead of that’ and then we didn’t really revisit it for another few weeks. We took our time.”
Having been asked if either Ferrari or Red Bull contacted him before the new deal was agreed, Hamilton added: “In terms of the other guys approaching, one did but I didn’t give it any air.”
However, when it was later suggested that Ferrari was the team that had made a move, Hamilton would not be drawn, replying: “You can make whatever assumption you want.”