Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko says a Hamilton-Verstappen pairing at Red Bull would never happen, citing both tension and cost as reasons why it's a non-starter.
Speculation about Red Bull fielding the unlikely duo bubbled up at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when it was revealed that Hamilton's father, Anthony, had casually suggested to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner that he reach out to the seven-time champ for a chat.
Horner, ever the pragmatist, did indeed attempt to connect with Hamilton, but his message went astray, lost in the labyrinth of old phone numbers.
Meanwhile, Hamilton, having already secured a new two-year deal with Mercedes, was fully focused on helping the Brackley squad regain its lost F1 glory.
While fans might find the idea of a Hamilton-Verstappen rivalry rather titillating, the Red Bull hierarchy has never been particularly keen on the prospect.
And Marko, the man who holds the keys to Red Bull's driver lineup, has laid out two reasons why this pairing is strictly off-limits.
“Christian informed me and showed me the text message he received, but I told him: ‘Hamilton and Max, that doesn't work’”, Marko said, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“There was too much action and how should I say, in 2021, tension. And on the other hand, we cannot afford to have the two most expensive drivers in one team.
“It's just never going to happen. So I told Christian: ‘No way.’”
Queried at Yas Marina last month on the improbable prospect of racing alongside Hamilton, Verstappen said: “It’s not happening, so there’s no point to make up stories. It’s not happening.
"I wouldn't mind it, it doesn't matter, anyone [points to other drivers],” he added. "I don't want to put it particularly on Lewis. There are so many great drivers as well."
As for Hamilton, the 103-time Grand Prix winner would gladly go up against his nemesis in the same team, if Verstappen was open to such a match up.
“I'd be more than happy to race against Max in the same car, that'd be wonderful,” Hamilton said. “I don't think he wants me to be his team-mate.”
Given the pair’s immense talent and the fierce competition between their teams, it's no wonder that fans have often fantasized about the prospect of Hamilton and Verstappen teaming up together.
The idea of these two titans of the sport driving for the same team in an epic quest for the Drivers' Championship is a prospect that has fueled many a daydream. And a daydream it will remain.