Hamilton snubbed approach from rival F1 team during Mercedes talks
|By Adam Cooper||Thursday, July 19th 2018, 17:45 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton says he "didn't give any air" to an approach from a rival team after he and Mercedes agreed not to look at other options for 2019 and beyond.
Mercedes announced on Thursday that Hamilton had agreed a contract extension, committing him to the Formula 1 team until 2020.
Asked if he had also been approached by Ferrari or Red Bull, Hamilton said he had.
"In terms of the other guys approaching, one did," he said. "But I didn't give it any air."
Asked to confirm it was Ferrari he said: "You can make whatever assumption that you want!" Hamilton clarified he had never actively looked for an opportunity elsewhere and, having committed to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff at early stage, did not use other offers to bargain.
"Toto is a great human being and a great manager. We have got a great relationship, and it has gone from strength to strength," said Hamilton.
"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 timeframe I chose to take, but the one thing that shows is the trust we have between each other.
"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 time'."
Hamilton said his basic contract was agreed around the time of the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May and that the subsequent delay was due to details.
"I can't remember the actual date," he said. "[It] might have been before or after Monaco.
"Then there were small bits here and there that we'd discuss - 'Hey Toto, can I change this? I kinda think we should do this instead of this' - then we wouldn't revisit for another few weeks, so we just took our time.
"We spoke about it and started to have the discussion at the beginning of the year, then a few months later, then we spoke about for a couple of days, then I put it off.
"I was like, 'It's too stressful, we'll revisit once we've got past a few races'.
"I just kept delaying it. 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."
Mercedes has made no announcement about who will partner Hamilton in 2019, but there is little doubt that Bottas will stay on board.
Confirmation of his new contract could come as early as this weekend's German Grand Prix.