• ‘Vettel would have to learn to take losing graciously’
• McLaren driver still has two years left on contract
Lewis Hamilton would be prepared to drive for Red Bull but only if Sebastian Vettel could learn to be a better loser. That was the clear implication from the McLaren driver’s comments on Friday following remarks by the Red Bull principal Christian Horner, that Hamilton and Vettel could not work together.
Horner said: “It’s difficult to see how you could have two drivers of Lewis’s and Sebastian’s calibre under one roof.” He was responding to an observation by the Red Bull team consultant Helmut Marko, that a combination of Hamilton and Vettel would make a fantasy team.
But Hamilton, in an implied criticism of the German world champion, said on Friday: “The only reason I would imagine that he [Horner] would suggest that is because certain individuals don’t like being beaten. Some individuals can take it. Some people are better losers or better winners. So it is just dependant. In this team, when Jenson [Button] beats me I take it on the chin and think, ‘Next time I am going to beat him.’ When I beat him, he doesn’t whinge and say: ‘Oh, Lewis has a better car than me or Lewis did this and I did that.’ There is none of that here, it is very equal. In some places you can imagine it could be different. I never have any complaints. If a guy beats me it is because he has done a better job.”
Hamilton, who has two years of his contract still to run at McLaren, refused to rule out a possible move to Red Bull and a pairing with Vettel if his current employers are unable to match his ambitions.
“It can work. You saw me and Fernando [Alonso]; we were very competitive. You see me and Jenson, so world champions can definitely race together as long as there is equality in the team. There is definitely not that at a couple of the teams around us. At my team you will probably see the most equality out of all the teams.”
The speculation that Hamilton could join Red Bull one day will continue provided the Milton Keynes-based team continue to dominate Formula One. Vettel’s current team-mate, Mark Webber, is 34 and has only a year?to?year deal with the team.
Hamilton said: “It is always good to be against the best guy you can be against because you are obviously compared to that guy in exactly the same equipment.”
Hamilton, who will be discussing his future with his new management team, added: “I’m contracted for the next two years. I am focused on my job now and I want to win world championships here, and I hope that continues, but you never know what happens in the future.”
Webber topped both practice sessions on Friday but the top four drivers were separated by just 0.250sec in the afternoon session. Hamilton is convinced that the Red Bulls are holding something back for on Saturday.
“I’m sure the Red Bulls will pull something out in qualifying,” he said. “I’m sure they’ve another half a second at least to pull out. I hope it’s the case we are a lot closer than at the last race, but we will see.”