Toto Wolff has admitted Mercedes came close to signing up F1 rookie sensation Max Verstappen.
Ultimately, the 16-year-old Dutchman and his father-manager Jos went with Red Bull's famous driver programme, after Dr Helmut Marko promised him a race seat for 2015 at Toro Rosso.
"We had several meetings with Jos and Max," Wolff, Mercedes' motor sport chief, confirmed to the German newspaper Bild.
"He is certainly a great talent, but we would not and could not guarantee him a seat with us in formula one.
"So I advised them to accept the offer from Red Bull," Wolff confirmed.
Verstappen's signing at a very young age - before he even qualifies for a license to drive a road...
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