Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were close to being TEAM-MATES says Mercedes boss as he reveals what blocked move | The Sun

TOTO WOLFF says he missed out on signing Max Verstappen as a youngster – because he could not offer the Dutchman a guaranteed seat at Mercedes.

Verstappen is poised to win his 11th race in a row at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix as he closes in on his third successive title.

However, it could have been a different story had Mercedes boss Wolff managed to sign him up to the Silver Arrows before he joined Red Bull's junior team in 2014.

Wolff says that back then, Mercedes were happy with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and without having a second team on the grid, could not promise Verstappen a space.

"Max was very good in karting, was good in F3, and it was clear that there's a big one that's growing," Wolff told F1's Beyond the Grid podcast.

"We talked to them in the initial phases, and it was a nice discussion with [dad] Jos and with Max involved as well.


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"But it was clear that we couldn't give him a seat because we had Nico and we had Lewis.

"We offered the support in F2 but, since Red Bull was able to offer them the AlphaTauri seat, or Toro Rosso back in the day, it got Max into the seat."

Verstappen was offered a drive at Toro Rosso in 2015 while Rosberg unexpectedly quit racing the following year after winning the title.

And Wolff says he can't be certain if Verstappen would have picked Mercedes had he not already joined Red Bull.

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He added: "Maybe but, you know, if I knew where the stock market is next year, I would decide to invest in it or not.

"We would be very happy and rich people if we would know what happens 12 months on."

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo will be in Singapore for this weekend's GP despite his broken hand.

The Australian underwent an operation after breaking bones in his left hand 20 days ago after crashing at the Dutch GP.

He is now undergoing rehab while helping the team with engineering duties while Red Bull's reserve driver Liam Lawson fills in at AlphaTauri.

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