Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says a pairing of Sebastian Vettel alongside Lewis Hamilton would cause Mercedes a “headache”, but believes such a move would be great for Formula 1.

Vettel is without a drive for 2021 after Ferrari announced the four-time world champion will be leaving the team when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

The German has seemingly been left with few competitive options if he wants to remain on the F1 grid next year, though he has been linked with a potential switch to Mercedes to partner Hamilton.

Mercedes is yet to confirm its driver line-up for 2021 with both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas coming towards the end of their contracts, though both are expected to remain at the German manufacturer.

“Sebastian is a very deep thinker,” Horner explained while speaking in an interview with former Red Bull driver David Coulthard during the latest episode of DC Unscripted - Heineken Non-Race Sundays.

“He will have given this a huge amount of thought, I’ve got no doubt about that.

“What he’s achieved in his career is phenomenal, so if he were to decide that there’s not a competitive drive available to him at the end of this year, and he calls it a day – he could even take a year out if he wanted. He has a young family, [and] he’s one of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport.

“In saying that, he’s still pretty young. He’s in his early 30s, he’s still phenomenally quick. Maybe Mercedes will fancy the headache of having him and Lewis together. It will be great for all of us to see and witness.

"From a team point of view, that would be a lot to take on. But he’s a great driver and as I say, I’m sure he’s given this a lot of thought, and all we can do is wish him the best. I think Formula 1 will be worse off if he’s not there, but you have to respect his decision.”

Horner, who ruled out a return to Red Bull for Vettel because he felt the dynamic would not work with two “alpha males”, has experience of having to manage difficult intra-team rivalries - including Vettel and Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

And Horner revealed he was left raging with Ricciardo and Verstappen after the pair took each other out of the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“I remember absolutely losing it with the two of them when we got back into the briefing room,” he said.

“Adrian [Newey] was in the room as well and he looked slightly shocked. These two kids are looking at me as if I was some hugely scary-looking teacher or something having a go at them because they’d just thrown away a huge amount of points for the team.”

 

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