How Mercedes F1 Almost Signed Sebastian Vettel to Create Lewis Hamilton Dream Team

Published 01/09/2022, 7:22 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is congratulated by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after winning the race and the world championship REUTERS/Clive Mason


Prior to Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin move in 2021, there was a lot of desire among the fans that Mercedes make a sterling move by signing the four-time world champion instead, creating a dream team with Lewis Hamilton. Of course, their prayers barely came to fruition.

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However, here’s something interesting! Mercedes did try to snatch Vettel from Ferrari, not in 2021, but much earlier than that. Following the 2017 season, Vettel had reached the end of his contract with the Reds. Hence Mercedes were the first team to contact Ferrari over a potential deal with the German.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes on the podium after the race Pool via REUTERS/Florion Goga

This is because Valtteri Bottas was then on a one-year deal and was yet to extend his contract with the Brackley outfit. And, at the same time, Felipe Massa was retiring from F1, creating an opening at Williams. So, Mercedes wouldn’t have minded sending Bottas back to where he initially came from.

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Hence, the conditions were perfect; but there was one factor that hindered Mercedes’ chances of signing Vettel – Ferrari’s competitive on-track performance.

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What prevented Mercedes from signing Vettel?

Ferrari were then looking in top form, showing promises of winning the championship title in the next few years. Hence, Vettel decided to stick with the Reds, as he ended up signing an additional three-year deal until the end of 2020.

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But, to Vettel’s poor luck, 2019 turned out to be the starting point of Ferrari’s horror run. The late F1 champion Niki Lauda, who was then Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, had revealed in an interview that the team was indeed desperate to sign Vettel.

Pole position qualifier Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and second place qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

We discussed briefly once with him, but the more the competitive the Ferrari goes the less the reason he would to leave,” he told Sky Sports according to Crash. “So therefore we stopped it right away, a couple of months ago. Every driver if he is clever talks to more one team so that when he negotiates he is in a better position. I think that is what he did.

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So, let’s hear it from you – How different could have Vettel’s career turned out had he moved to Mercedes from Ferrari in 2018? Could he have won his fifth world championship title by now?

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Rohit Kumar

1676 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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