Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has admitted he tried to poach Lewis Hamilton during his time at Ferrari, heading up the outfit from 2008 to 2014. Hamilton had signed for McLaren in 2007, before moving over to Mercedes in 2013 with one World Championship under his belt.
The seven-time world champion recently spoke out about his missed opportunities at Ferrari, admitting he wasn’t sure why they never really came to fruition.
The Stevenage-born driver has won six of his titles with the British-based German team and is currently aiming to become the most successful driver of all time with an eighth world title in a fierce battle with Max Verstappen.
However, in his early years, it’s been revealed that Ferrari were keen on Hamilton and even tried to entice him to the Prancing Horse.
When asked if he had ever had serious conversations about signing Hamilton, Domenicali told Sky Sports: “To be honest, yes. This is true. We’ve discussed that.
“I think that the answer that Lewis was able to give is the right one. Today, I think that period has passed.
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“For years, whenever I come to Monza and see the fans, I hear them saying ‘Come to Ferrari!’,” the Mercedes driver told Sky Italia.
“It warms my heart but it’s pretty amazing that I’ve never driven for Ferrari after so many years. Because it’s a dream for everyone, a goal to be achieved.
“It’s never really been possible and I will never quite know exactly why.”
He laughed: “I wish them the best and in the near future I will just have to stop them from winning the world championship instead.
“I have a couple of Ferraris at home that I can drive, but not the F1 Ferrari.”
Hamilton has stayed loyal to Mercedes since moving from McLaren in 2013 to partner Nico Rosberg at the team, who promptly quit at the end of 2016 after winning the title.
Valtteri Bottas steadied the ship from 2017 onwards but will make way for George Russell next season, a driver that is more than a decade younger than Hamilton, who will be at the reigning champions until at least 2023.