Lewis Hamilton will look to win a record-breaking eighth world title in 2021, but McLaren boss Zak Brown believes the Brit won't be at Mercedes in 2022 with Max Verstappen stepping into his spot.
The Formula 1 season begins in Bahrain on Sunday with the 36-year-old looking to add to his trophy cabinet. However his prospects past this season remain unclear given Hamilton only signed a one-year contract with Mercedes back in February. Brown believes Verstappen will leave Red Bull and take the seat in 2022 alongside George Russell, who impressed at the Sakhir Grand Prix last season when stepping in for Hamilton.
"Yes, I think you will see Max and George there in 2022," Brown told the Daily Mail. "I think that is the obvious conclusion. Lewis wins title number eight this year and is the winningest driver (most successful) in every category; they have a one-year deal with him.
"George is coming out of his deal and Max has a deal he comes out of. You have Max's experience and youth, you have George's youth. If I am Mercedes that is a pretty killer line-up for the next five years."
While the move would give Mercedes a formidable driver pairing, it would leave Red Bull with a big hole to fill.
'The interesting thing is what do Red Bull do?," Brown added. "That's a harder one to answer. It's tough for them. Everyone is locked down.
"And Lewis has spent his entire career with Mercedes, either through the works team or with McLaren and I think as Michael Schumacher was fundamentally a Ferrari man — though he ended up with Mercedes — Lewis has this opportunity to be a career Mercedes man so I don't know why he would move.'