Lewis Hamilton wanted help to get Red Bull seat - Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Lewis Hamilton pleaded with him last year to engineer a move to Red Bull
With Hamilton disillusioned at McLaren, Ecclestone said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday that the former world champion asked him for assistance in securing a Red Bull drive alongside Sebastian Vettel.
But efforts to secure a deal collapsed when Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz said he felt loyalty to Mark Webber and instead chose to retain the Australian.
Ecclestone said: "Sebastian wouldn't have cared if Lewis had signed for the team.
"Dietrich is a very honest, straightforward guy and told Mark the door was open for him to stay. That was good of him.
"Had Mark gone, Dietrich would have signed Lewis."
Hamilton's desire to move to Red Bull has long been known - with AUTOSPORT revealing at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix that the Briton had made a secret approach to its team boss Christian Horner asking for a deal.
Ecclestone said that with the Red Bull door shut, he suggested Hamilton make a move to Mercedes, which the Briton seemed initially reluctant to do.
"'Why not talk to Mercedes, Lewis?'" Ecclestone recalled telling Hamilton. "Lewis rolled his eyes... but I told him that he had nothing to lose as he wanted out of McLaren."
The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?
Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun
While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...
Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping
For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit
It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed