The perennial Niki Lauda, head of the supervisory board of the quadruple world champion outfit Mercedes-Benz, made clear in an interview with the German media today that: “There never was an offer for Max Verstappen.” for 2017 drive.
After Rosberg secured his title for 2016, Mercedes had to find a replacement for the German driver fast after his shock retirement announcement. Turning to Williams’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas to fill the seat, Mercedes filled position and the rest is history.
“It was only the right move because Bottas was the only available top driver. Lewis Hamilton then found new strength. Whether the reason was that Nico was gone, I do not know. But Hamilton has reached a level so that he was almost unbeatable. He made almost no mistakes and showed incredible races in the first part of the season, when the car was difficult to drive. ”
“Bottas did his job, he inspired Lewis. He could have performed a little better, but the Mercedes car was so hard to drive in the beginning, it was not easy for him”
But was Bottas the only driver they could’ve gone for? It was rumoured at the time that the Dutch ‘Wonder Kid’ Max Verstappen was on the radar but Red Bull subsequently tied him up on a contract until 2020.
“Actually we never made Verstappen an offer.” says Lauda.
“I have a very good relationship with Red Bull Race Director Helmut Marko. We fly together and so on. But if he thinks you’re taking something away from him, he’ll make a quick contract. We talked about it today. I told him: You could have saved a lot of money. We never talked to Verstappen, not even about money. “