Sebastian Vettel has opened up about his past discussions with Mercedes about potentially joining the team. At the time of the talks, Vettel was two years into his contract with Ferrari and was fully focused on making his dream of winning with the Italian team a reality.
In an interview, Vettel said:
“Maybe there was [a chance], I spoke with Niki [Lauda]. But to be honest, it was halfway through the Ferrari period. Obviously it would have been a big deal, because Lewis was their No1, and I’m not sure whether they would have liked to have us both in the team. But I also didn’t have great interest at that time, because I was so committed to Ferrari. That was my dream to make that thing work so you talk to each other but it wasn’t really serious.”
However, Vettel did go on to say that it would have been a great challenge to race alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. The two drivers have a long history of rivalry and friendship on the track, and Vettel reflected on their collision at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. In that incident, Vettel accused Hamilton of brake testing him and collided with the back of the British driver’s car. Vettel admitted that the emotional side of the situation got the better of him and that he probably should have dealt with the situation differently. He said:
“I think I would have enjoyed racing with Lewis, we get along really well, and our moment was the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where we had maybe what you would call nowadays a ‘misunderstanding!’ I was very upset. It was one of these moments where things didn’t go my way. And I was upset, and maybe the emotional side did take over too much. But I think actually, that moment was a key moment because it could have made us step away from each other more, or bring us together. And it brought us together.”
Despite the incident, Vettel said that it brought him and Hamilton closer together and that he would have enjoyed racing alongside the seven-time world champion. Vettel is proud of his time with Ferrari and ultimately did not want to change teams and win with Mercedes, but he is at peace with the fact that it did not come to fruition. He said, “My focus was to win with Ferrari. I didn’t want to change team and win with Mercedes, but it just didn’t happen. I am cool with that.”