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Hamilton's way to Mercedes: Schumacher even only third choice

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Hamilton's way to Mercedes
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T he flirt between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton is not a short-term affair. The first contacts go back to the GP Canada. E-mail addresses and phone numbers were exchanged. After that, informal discussions took place. However, Mercedes' hands were tied. The company could not make any firm commitments to Hamilton.

The Concorde agreement had not yet been signed, and for a while it looked as if the lawyers at Daimler could never accept Bernie Ecclestone's agreement, as some Contained clauses that were not compatible with the customs of a large corporation.

That was the time when Hamilton moved away from Mercedes again. McLaren had made him a specific offer, albeit a bad one. Allegedly only over nine million euros plus a success bonus. Hamilton is said to have taken this as an insult. And there was a crisis on other levels too. Anyone who has lived for four years in the corset of a team that still operates in the spirit of Ron Dennis at its foundations longs for more freedom and less incapacitation.

Lauda and Hamilton meet at Ecclestone

The talks were resumed in Spa. From the point of view of Mercedes, the biggest obstacles in relation to a signature under the Concorde Agreement had been removed. As it now came out, Bernie Ecclestone, Lewis Hamilton and Niki Lauda met at the Belgian GP for a first conversation about a possible future at Mercedes.

As a reminder: It was the race in which Hamilton expressed his frustration via Twitter announced about the lost stable duel against Jenson Button and got his head washed by McLaren. It could be interpreted as a first attempt at cutting the cord. This also makes it clear who notified Eddie Jordan that Hamilton was on his way to Mercedes. It could really only have been Bernie Ecclestone himself.

The boss of Formula 1 sometimes likes to ignite himself when he thinks that his circus needs a little blood freshening up. The top stars of the scene have been driving for the same teams for too long. From Ecclestone's point of view, his business had become too static.

McLaren and Mercedes argue over Hamilton

Eddie Jordan's indiscretions were followed by a tug-of-war about Hamilton like at an auction. McLaren and Mercedes outdid themselves with the price. But he gaveultimately not the decisive factor. The emotional U-turn from McLaren to Mercedes took place on the weekend in Singapore.

At that time, it was made clear to Hamilton during a sleepy night that Mercedes could be the next big step in his career despite all sporting concerns. Just like it was the case with Michael Schumacher with Ferrari back then. Nobody could understand why Schumacher was turning his back on Benetton after two World Cup titles.

Niki Lauda made it clear to Hamilton that he could make history if he could help Mercedes achieve success in the post-Schumacher era. And he was promised to do everything possible to make next year's Silver Arrow a winning car. Hamilton was briefed on all technical and personnel plans, and he was explained why the team had stagnated over the past three years. From Saturday, Mercedes knew: the ice had broken. It could work.

Mercedes Plan B was called Sergio Perez

And yet everything could have failed. When asked, a Mercedes representative said: 'If Hamilton had won the thing in Singapore, it would have been difficult. That would have been an emotional thing, and he might have given McLaren the contract after all.'

And what plan B would Mercedes have had? Apparently, in Stuttgart, Brackley and Brixworth, the same idea had occurred to McLaren. If Hamilton had canceled, Sergio Perez would probably have ended up at Mercedes. The Silver Arrows bosses had already put out feelers for the Mexican.

Michael Schumacher was only the third choice. Malicious tongues claim that the record man gambled away. Why play poker until October when the ideal time to renew your contract has already come? If he had signed after his training record in Monte Carlo, Hamilton would never have been up for debate.

Mercedes was on cloud nine. They had won in Shanghai and had shown in Monaco that the Silver Arrow could also win elsewhere. It was only when the results failed to materialize and the remaining in Formula 1 was on the brink that Hamilton became an issue. From Mercedes circles one hears: 'Michael's delay until October caused Mercedes to think about alternatives.'

Mercedes needs man for the future

Ross Brawn, Norbert Haug and Niki Lauda as the silent manager in the background needed a workable concept to make the continuation of the Formula 1 commitment palatable to the executive board in Stuttgart. If you then have to submit a three-year plan, you don't integrate a 43-year-old old master, but fresh blood. Lewis Hamilton, or Sergio Perez if necessary.

Hamilton is a signal for the Formula 1 team: In Brackley, at least now, they know that the time for excuses is over. The new Formula 1 director Niki Lauda also sees it this way: 'We all have to make an effort now to get Lewis and Nico onePut down the winning car. '

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