25 June 2013
Hamilton wouldn’t shy from Vettel partnership
Lewis Hamilton says that, while he remains committed to Mercedes, he would not be afraid of partnering any of the other big names in F1 in future.
Lewis Hamilton insists that he is not afraid of being paired with any other driver on the F1 grid, including three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
The two have often been touted as potential team-mates, with Hamilton having made the now infamous trip to speak with Red Bull at the Canadian Grand Prix two years ago, and then being mentioned in connection with a possible switch when it became clear things were souring in his relationship with McLaren.
Although RBR team boss Christian Horner played down the chances of his fellow Briton partnering Vettel on both occasions, Hamilton maintains that, should the opportunity arise in future - and, prior to inking an extension to his Red bull deal, Vettel had been linked to interest from Mercedes - he would not shy away from tackling the German head on.
"I would go up against any driver,” the 2008 world champion insisted in response to readers' questions in the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine, "Any time, any place, any team. Whoever it is, that's not a worry for me, I would have happily been Sebastian's team-mate."
Hamilton, of course, ended his lengthy relationship with McLaren by defecting to engine partner Mercedes, where he is now six months into a three-year deal. Although overshadowed in terms of qualifying pace and race wins by team-mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton holds the upper hand in terms of championship position, currently sitting fourth behind Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Insisting that he remains excited by the prospect of representing the Three-Pointed Star despite being caught up in the 'testgate' affair, Hamilton admitted that he might also find it hard to resist an offer from Ferrari.
"At the moment, I can't see myself anywhere else because I'm really happy where I am," he continued, "But what I can say is that, throughout my racing career and through karting and everything, Ferrari have always been one of the top teams and it's always a desire for any driver to drive for them.”
Until that offer comes, however, Hamilton will have to content himself with taking it to both RBR and Ferrari, starting this weekend with his home event at Silverstone. Having sampled the emotion of winning the British race en route to his title in 2008, the local hero says there is little to rival the thrill of stepping out onto the podium in front of the Silverstone fans.
"Silverstone is just one of the greatest races of the year because it is your home grand prix, where you grew up and have all your home fans, it's definitely by far the ultimate race of the year and when you win here it's almost like winning the championship," Hamilton explained to Sky Sports News, "The turn-out is incredible every time we come here.
“When I won here in 2008, the weather was terrible and still we had an incredible crowd. I never thought in a million years that I would have people following me or supporting me and, when I arrive here and see the support, it just spurs you on. I'm sure it gives you an extra couple of tenths."
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