Hamilton declared his intention to join Mercedes for 2013 last week and McLaren quickly swooped to bring in Sergio Perez from Sauber to fill the void left.
But Whitmarsh admitted to SkySports that the Force India duo were also options:
“Well I think (McLaren considered) Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg there are no real surprises there,
“They are both under contract, but both are undoubtedly available to us and I think they are both are very good drivers.”
In the end they chose Perez due to his potential to improve:
“I think what we have with Sergio is someone who is perhaps less developed but has masses of talent, who doesn’t make mistakes and is a very good racer,
“We were looking at potential and I think what we were trying to do was pick someone who was going to progress beyond where they are now. We think he will, but we don’t know.”