F1: Hamilton wanted to race for Red Bull, says Horner

Lewis Hamilton (left) may have Red Bull's Christian Horner (right) to thank for move to Mercedes in 2012.

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Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner claims he encouraged Mercedes to sign three-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton when he was on the market back in 2012.

Horner told the British magazine F1 Racing that Hamilton, who has dominated F1 with Mercedes for the past two seasons, was actually more interested in moving to Red Bull.

"He was desperate to drive for the team," Horner said. "But there was no way we could accommodate him while Sebastian (Vettel) was with us."

Horner says he encouraged Mercedes to sign Hamilton instead, to replace Michael Schumacher as the seven-time world champion returned to retirement.

"McLaren had been very competitive in 2011 and 2012 and I thought it would probably be better for us for him (Hamilton) to be at Mercedes rather than McLaren," Horner added.

"So I encouraged Niki Lauda to sign him to weaken McLaren — not envisaging that Mercedes would become the absolute powerhouse they are today."