Hockenheim - Lewis
Hamilton played coy on Thursday when he declined an opportunity to deny
that Ferrari were the only team to approach him before finally agreeing
to his blockbuster two-year contract extension with Mercedes.
The defending four-time world champion, who will reportedly become
Formula One's first £40 million a year driver, admitted
that another team had attempted to lure him away, but he gave them no
Talking to reporters during a team news conference ahead of this
weekend's German Grand Prix, in which he seeks to beat local hero
Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and regain the leadership of this year's
title race, Hamilton was full of praise for Mercedes and team chief Toto
Wolff for their patience during seven months of prolonged negotiations.
"In terms of other teams approaching me, one did, but I didn't give
it any air," said Hamilton, whose contract extension will keep him with
Mercedes until the end of 2020, matching Vettel's commitment to Ferrari.
Asked if the other team was Ferrari, he said: "You can make whatever assumption you want."
The 33-year-old Englishman's new deal makes him the highest-earning British sportsman.
Both Red Bull and McLaren intimated they had not been in contact with
Hamilton, leaving Ferrari, a team he respects and admires, as the only
remaining organisation with the financial muscle required.
Hamilton was more clear when he said he had not sought offers from
rival teams, having made an early commitment to Mercedes and Wolff.
"Toto is a great human being and a great manager," said Hamilton. "We
have got a great relationship and it has gone from strength to
"We have had our ups and downs, as every relationship does, but it
has been one of a lot of growth and I really appreciate Toto being so
patient with me.
"Most people would not have been given the time-frame I chose to
take, but the one thing that shows is the trust we have between each
"I said from day one 'I am not looking anywhere else… I'm not talking
to anyone else. I am not investigating to see what other options there
are. I'm not playing you against anybody else.
"'While I know there are drivers calling you, which I expect, I also
trust you are not thinking to do anything else. So, we can take our
He explained that he had agreed a basic contract by the time of the
Monaco Grand Prix in late May, but subsequent delays were due to his own
preoccupation with details.
"I just kept delaying it," he added. "I had a contract in place, I
just didn't feel like I had to rush. Eventually, we sat down at home and
got through it real quick."
As to his future beyond 2020, when he could join Ferrari alongside
Vettel, or have the German join him at Mercedes, he said it was
"impossible to say where I am going to be".
"I wasn’t expecting to feel as excited as I am now in signing this
extension. I am also very conscious of how long it is beyond
Like Vettel, he is bidding to become the third driver in F1 history
to win five titles, joining seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and
five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio in that revered company.