When Mercedes dominated Formula 1 at times at will with the start of the hybrid era from 2014, many fans would also have liked to see Sebastian Vettel in a Silver Arrow. But the German “dream marriage” never happened. Vettel himself has now spoken about the reasons in the podcast “Beyond the Grid”.
“I talked to Niki [Lauda] about whether I wanted to come. That must have been around half-time of the Ferrari time,” recalled Vettel, who had switched to Ferrari in 2015. “Would have been a huge thing, of course, because Lewis [Hamilton] was their number one,” Vettel said.
“I’m not sure they would have liked having both of us in the team,” he grins, but also stresses that he himself was “not particularly interested” in changing teams at the time anyway. Because at the time he was “closely tied to Ferrari”.
Vettel absolutely wanted to win with Ferrari
His “big dream” had always been the title with the Scuderia. “You talk to each other, but it wasn’t really serious,” he therefore says with regard to the talks with Mercedes.
“It would have been a great challenge that I would have enjoyed,” he admits.
“But it wasn’t meant to be. At that point my goal was to win with Ferrari. I didn’t want to switch to Mercedes. Apart from winning, which I love, winning with Ferrari was always my big goal,” said Vettel, who was never able to fulfil his dream of winning the title in red.
“It would have been fun for me to race with Lewis. We get along really well,” stresses Vettel, who nevertheless has no regrets about never having driven for Mercedes. Incidentally, he singles out the race in Baku in 2017 as a turning point in his relationship with Hamilton.
Baku “turning point” in relationship with Hamilton
“I was pretty pissed,” Vettel recalls of his ramming of Hamilton at the time.
“[It was] one of those moments that went against me and I was very angry about. That’s when the emotional side took over,” he reveals.
“But in hindsight, it was a turning point,” Vettel insists, as the situation “brought Hamilton and him closer together”, he explains, admitting, “I realised it was the wrong way to go. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t the behaviour of a sportsman.”
“I admitted that afterwards when we talked. And since that moment we have grown closer,” said Vettel, who remained at Ferrari until the end of 2020. When he had to leave the Scuderia, there was no place for him in the Mercedes works team afterwards.
Instead, he then drove for customer team Aston Martin for another two years before ending his career after the 2022 season.