Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen doesn't want him to be his team-mate in Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton to Red Bull claims were the major story in the Yas Marina Circuit paddock after Christian Horner suggested the Mercedes driver got in touch; watch every session from the Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports from Friday at 9.30am, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm

With rumours suggesting Lewis Hamilton might have joined Red Bull, Max Verstappen says he wouldn't have minded if the seven-time world champion or any other driver raced alongside him.

Lewis Hamilton says he would "100 per cent" be open to being team-mates with Max Verstappen but claims the Red Bull driver wouldn't want to take him on in the same machinery.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says a representative of Hamilton approached Red Bull earlier this year before the seven-time champion signed his two-year Mercedes contract renewal in August.

Hamilton, who has been with Mercedes since 2013, claims it was the other way around and Horner reached out to him.

The claims and counter-claims sparked plenty of questions in Abu Dhabi about whether it would be possible for multiple champions Hamilton and Verstappen, who waged a fierce duel for the world title in 2021, to drive together in the same team.

Very few times in F1 history have two of the sport's top drivers been team-mates, although Hamilton experienced going up against Fernando Alonso at McLaren in his rookie 2007 campaign and also partnered world champions Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton says he's never considered joining Red Bull and is determined to beat them with current team Mercedes.

"I 100 per cent would be more than happy to race against him (Verstappen) in an equal car," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

"For me, Red Bull has done an amazing job and it is an incredible team. And any driver would love to drive for such a great group of people.

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"I think moving from a car that's not so great to a winning car, from my perspective, that's not a dream. The dream is always to start where we kind of are and build up to then winning. That's why I've stayed with Mercedes."

He concluded to the written press in Abu Dhabi: "I don't think he wants me to be his team-mate."

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen team-mates in F1

Lewis Hamilton Max Verstappen
Fernando Alonso (2007) Carlos Sainz (2015-16)
Heikki Kovalainen (2008-2009) Daniel Ricciardo (2016-2018)
Jenson Button (2010-2012) Pierre Gasly (2019)
Nico Rosberg (2013-2016) Alex Albon (2019-2020)
Valtteri Bottas (2017-2021) Sergio Perez (2021-present)
George Russell (2022-present)

Verstappen: I wouldn't mind to be Hamilton's team-mate

Image: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have won every F1 championship since 2017

Earlier this year, Hamilton stated that all of his team-mates in F1 have been stronger than the drivers who have partnered Verstappen.

Verstappen hit back and said "maybe Hamilton is a little jealous" of his success after a record-breaking season for the Dutchman.

Asked in Abu Dhabi about the prospect of being Hamilton's team-mate in the future by Sky Sports F1, Verstappen said: "I wouldn't mind.

"It doesn't matter, anyone... don't want to put it particularly on Lewis. There are so many great drivers as well. Sometimes it doesn't work out like that."

Why can't Hamilton and Verstappen be team-mates?

Sky Sports News' Craig Slater discusses reports that a Lewis Hamilton representative spoke with Red Bull chief Christin Horner earlier in the year about a potential move to the team.

Given the intense and controversial nature of the 2021 season, it would be a big shock if Hamilton and Verstappen ever drove for the same team.

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were team-mates at McLaren in 1988 and 1989 with the intention from the Woking-based outfit to have the top two drivers in F1. Hamilton surprisingly matched two-time world champion Alonso in 2007, with no rivalry initially expected between the pair beforehand.

Sky Sports F1's Anthony Davidson says it would be "box office stuff" if Hamilton and Verstappen were in equal machinery but doesn't think it will happen.

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

"Unfortunately the realist in me steps in and says 'I can't see that happening'. Red Bull is very much Max Verstappen's team, I'm sure Lewis Hamilton would love to drive alongside him, just to have that chance to win that eighth world championship, that he oh so wants and nearly got in Abu Dhabi in 2021 of course," Davidson told Sky Sports News.

"But from a driver's perspective it's simple, 'yeah, I'm not afraid to drive against Max Verstappen', Max Verstappen is not afraid to drive against Lewis Hamilton, they believe they are the best in the business and why would they be afraid to go head-to-head against one of their competitors on the field in equal machinery.

"From a team's perspective you want to steer away from that intense competition.

"We've seen it in the past with Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna at McLaren, we've seen it with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and on both of those occasions it came to blows out on track, it's not good for the team, you throw away points pretty much on a regular basis.

"It is something we want to see but for the team bosses it's not necessarily the right circumstance."

As Max Verstappen reaches his 50th career win, take a look back at the Red Bull driver's top five greatest race wins.

Sky Sports F1's live Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday November 24

  • 7am: F2 Practice
  • 9am: Abu Dhabi GP Practice One (session starts at 9.30am)
  • 10.55pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 12.45pm: Abu Dhabi GP Practice Two (session starts at 1pm)
  • 2.15pm: The F1 Show

Saturday November 25

  • 10.15am: Abu Dhabi GP Practice Three (session starts at 10.30am)
  • 12.15pm: F2 Sprint
  • 1.15pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying build-up
  • 2pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying
  • 4pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Sunday November 26

  • 9.10am: F2 Feature Race
  • 11.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Abu Dhabi GP build-up
  • 3pm: Chequered Flag: Abu Dhabi GP reaction
  • 4pm: Ted's Notebook

After the thrills of Las Vegas, Formula 1 heads to Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit for the 2023 season finale and another stunning spectacle under the lights. Watch the Abu Dhabi weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW