Mercedes initially wanted Nick Heidfeld to replace Michael Schumacher; not Lewis Hamilton

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To many, Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes in 2013 would have seemed like the obvious and most routine move of any Formula One driver.

However, former Mercedes CEO Nick Fry has claimed that it took a lot more convincing than you might have first thought to bring the youngest-ever world champion to the manufacturers.

In fact, he wasn’t even their first choice to replace the big void left by Michael Schumacher’s departure.

Instead, they had made Nick Heidfeld their first choice.

When faced with the departure of Schumacher, Mercedes originally wanted to stick with the all-German feel to their line-up.

"Initially, I couldn't get Mercedes on board with hiring Lewis," Fry wrote in his book 'Survive. Drive. Win'.

"More than once we were sent back to come up with other ideas.

For whatever reason, we were told to look at people like Nick Heidfeld again, who was super-keen to get the seat, and repeatedly text me with photos of himself, his family and his dog in a futile bid to pique my interest.

At this point, Heidfeld had scored 13 podiums in 183 Grand Prix starts for Prost, Sauber, Jordan, Williams and Lotus Renault, for whom he last raced in 2011. He left setting a record of the most podium finishes without a single Grand Prix win.

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Lewis - by the same point - had already become only the 13th driver to record a podium finish in his debut race and earned a Drivers’ Championship in the following year.

In the end, Mercedes could resist no longer and signed a deal with Hamilton which, in turn, has proved to be one of the most successful partnerships the sport has ever seen.

The Brit has gone on to win four championships in five years and truly dominated the standings, particularly in the last two years.

This time around, Mercedes have won 10 of the 14 Grands Prix, with Hamilton taking eight of those victories and teammate Valtteri Bottas getting the other two. The team are over 150 points ahead of Ferrari, who sit second in the Constructors’ Championship in a truly dominating two thirds of the season.

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