Lewis Hamilton has revealed he held talks with Ferrari about potentially driving for Formula 1’s most famous team, but says he was “never really close” to joining.

Speculation linking Hamilton to a sensational switch from reigning champions Mercedes to Ferrari gathered momentum following comments made by Scuderia team boss Mattia Binotto at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But the Italian outfit ultimately opted to sign Carlos Sainz from McLaren to replace Sebastian Vettel as Charles Leclerc’s teammate for 2021, while Hamilton is set to agree a new contract to remain with Mercedes next season and beyond.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Hamilton, who drew level with Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher on seven world titles following his 94th career victory at the Turkish Grand Prix, explained why the two parties “never aligned” during past discussions.

“We were never really close,” Hamilton said. “We talked on occasion but we didn’t go beyond understanding what options were on the table and they weren’t the right ones.

“Our positions have never aligned. I think timing matters and things happen in the end for a reason.

“In recent seasons my contract always expired in years different from that of all the other drivers. In the end it went like this.”

Earlier this season Hamilton called for Ferrari to do more as a team to promote diversity within its organisation following a similar move from Mercedes.

Hamilton said that one of his demands when he signed for Mercedes back at the end of 2012 was that he could be provided with more freedom compared to his time at McLaren.

“At McLaren I grew a lot but they had certain expectations about how a driver should behave and they contrasted with the fact that I have always been an outsider, a nonconformist,” he added.

“Before signing with Mercedes I said: ‘Look, I’m different from others. Let me be myself, let me experience [things] because I have to find out who I am. In any case, I help you and make the brand grow in the world of young people in a better way’. And that’s what happened.”

 

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