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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton: My Ferrari move shows Verstappen to Mercedes "is possible"

Max Verstappen has been linked with replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes given the tense situation inside Red Bull.

Verstappen Hamilton
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To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Lewis Hamilton feels his remarkable decision to quit Mercedes and join Ferrari shows it "is possible" for F1 rival Max Verstappen to replace him at the team.

Hamilton stunned F1 when it was announced at the start of February that he had exercised an escape clause in his contract with Mercedes and had signed for the Scuderia from 2025.

The vacant seat from next season at Mercedes has become one of the most sought after on the grid, with numerous names linked.

In the wake of the turbulent events at Red Bull, and Jos Verstappen's veiled threat that if Christian Horner is not removed from his position as team principal then he would pull his son out of the team, the three-time champion has now been linked with a switch to Mercedes.

Assessing the prospect of Verstappen stepping into his shoes at Mercedes, Hamilton replied: "My move has shown that anything's possible, and it's going to be a really interesting next six months or so.

"I don't have an extra scoop. I know that...I'm sure Max is on the list, but I'm pretty sure he's tied up, and also, I couldn't see why you would leave a car that is that good."

There are also doubts as to why Mercedes would opt for Verstappen given the toxic situation that unfolded between the team and Red Bull, and Hamilton and Verstappen, during the controversial 2021 campaign when the Dutchman scored his maiden title.

Asked whether he is surprised Verstappen would be considered by Mercedes, he said: "I wouldn't say I'm surprised, no.

"He's a great driver. We spoke back then, and at that moment Max did what he had to do. It was nothing on him. It was the sport that led us down. That wasn't his fault.

"Me in his position, I would have done exactly the same thing, so there are no issues there.

"If you run a team, you want to have the best driver in, and you want to be the team that brings in the eyeballs, brings in the sponsorship, and he is one of those, so I understand it. It wouldn't make sense, I would say, for him, but it would be interesting to see."

Verstappen has also not categorically dismissed the possibility of a move to Mercedes, particularly as it has now emerged he has an escape clause in his contract that runs until the end of 2028 that is linked to advisor Helmut Marko.

Verstappen knows he is in a comfortable position, although at present he concedes there is "a bit of a question mark" in 2026 when new power unit regulations commence, and with Red Bull developing its own system for the first time in its history.

"I know what this team has done for me in my career, and the intention is to absolutely stay," said Verstappen. "I really enjoy it and I’m really happy with the team. As long as we perform, there is no reason to leave.

“But then no one would have realised Lewis would move to Ferrari. In my life, not just related to F1 just general life, you never know what happens or what comes to you or what happens around you, what might influence you.

"You can never say 100 per cent that’s how it’s going to be. But I don’t think about it too much, I’m very relaxed, I’m very happy at the team. The performance is there, there’s no reason to leave.”

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