Finn was McLaren’s ‘third choice’ for 2008

(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen was only McLaren-Mercedes' third choice to replace the departing Fernando Alonso ahead of the 2008 season, according to reports.

Germany's Bild newspaper claims that both Nico Rosberg and Toro Rosso rookie Sebastian Vettel were higher on the silver coloured outfit's wish list, but both Germans could not be extracted from solid contracts.

The newspaper said that when it became clear that Williams was not interested in selling Mercedes' first choice Rosberg, competition boss Norbert Haug pushed to arrange for 20-year-old Vettel to sit in the sister MP4-23 alongside Lewis Hamilton for this year.

But Bild claims that even when faced with promises of eight-digit contract buyouts, Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz refused to release Vettel to McLaren.

Referring to Kovalainen, Bild said: "The Finn is only the third choice."

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