It’s been revealed by Mercedes driver development advisor Gwen Lagrue that Max Verstappen almost signed for the Silver Arrows, before he was promoted to Toro Rosso in 2015.
Verstappen famously made the jump from Formula 3 to F1 in 2015 at just 17 years old, with him having already been seen at the time as a future World Champion.
Mercedes could see the Dutchman’s potential and supposedly spoke to the Red Bull driver and his father, ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen.
Lagrue noted that the Silver Arrows could see from a young age that Verstappen was set for greatness, making the Germans keen to poach the Dutchman.
“Max was very good in karting, was good in F3, and it was clear that there’s a big one that’s growing,” explained Lagrue on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“We talked to them in the initial phases, and it was a nice discussion with (his dad) Jos and with Max involved as well.”
In the end, Verstappen strengthened his relationship with Red Bull and rejected Mercedes, who could only offer the driver a seat in Formula 2 but with support from them.
As well known, Red Bull were able to promote Verstappen straight into F1 from F3, where he immediately looked fast.
Mercedes ultimately couldn’t promote Verstappen straight into F1 as they had both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg under contract, which resulted in a stumbling block.
“It was clear that we couldn’t give him a seat because we had Nico [Rosberg] and we had Lewis [Hamilton],” Lagrue added.
“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 went onto be promoted into the main Red Bull team at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, which he, of course, won.
Since then, he’s gone onto become a two-time World Champion, who is getting ever closer to a third consecutive title.
His biggest achievement this season is without a doubt his record-breaking 10-race winning streak, which concluded at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend where he finished fifth.