Bernie Ecclestone reveals secret Lewis Hamilton deal

Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 and has won six drivers’ championships with the team to date.

Going into 2023, Lewis Hamilton is still on the hunt for his record breaking eighth drivers’ championship victory, coming off the back of two heart-breaking years for the Brit.

2021 saw the 37-year-old miss out of the title on the final lap of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, while Mercedes were simply uncompetitive in 2022 as Hamilton went winless for the first time in his career.

The Stevenage-born diver burst onto the scene in 2007 with McLaren, missing out on a title win in his debut season by a single point to Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton did win his first and only championship with McLaren in his second season before spending four years watching Sebastian Vettel dominate Formula 1 with the new team on the block, Red Bull Racing.

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With the Brit struggling to take full advantage of his potential with McLaren, former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has now revealed that he stunningly offered to fund Hamilton’s move to Mercedes in order to make it happen, despite working for F1 at the time.

“Niki [Lauda] realised what a valuable driver Lewis was, and he found some way of persuading him he should be driving for Mercedes,” said Ecclestone in Disney+’s new documentary ‘Lucky!’

“If he didn’t get paid what he wanted, Lewis, he wasn’t going to agree [to sign].

“So I said ‘well he’s somebody that I think Mercedes needs, I’ll pay the difference.’ But eventually Mercedes paid.”

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Having a current F1 chief executive fund a driver move to help a team would not have gone down well at the time had Ecclestone have stepped in to help Mercedes, as this would have been a huge conflict of interest considering Ecclestone’s role in the sport.

Hamilton’s move to Mercedes was seen as a sideways or even backwards step at the time, with many fans believing that the Brit had thrown his chances of winning a second title down the drain just for a paycheck.

These doubts could not have been proved more wrong however, as Hamilton has so far won an additional six drivers’ championships with Mercedes since joining the team and is now one title away from surpassing Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver of all time.