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Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton names preferred replacement for Mercedes F1 seat

Lewis Hamilton has revealed who he would replace himself with at Mercedes, with who will get the seat alongside George Russell next season still undetermined.

Hamilton Imola
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton has told Toto Wolff who should replace himself at Mercedes for next season.

The seven-time F1 drivers' champion confirmed before the start of the current campaign he would be joining Ferrari next year after 12 seasons with Mercedes, during which time he won six of his titles and helped the team to eight constructors' crowns.

Multiple drivers on the F1 grid have so far been mooted as potential replacements for Hamilton, from Alexander Albon and Fernando Alonso to Carlos Sainz, and even Max Verstappen.

Red Bull driver Verstappen has gained the most traction as an option, whilst Albon and Alonso have re-signed with Williams and Aston Martin respectively in recent weeks.

Although Verstappen has an existing deal with Red Bull that runs until the end of 2028, he has been heavily linked to Mercedes recently.

The triple-world champion is thought to be unsettled by Adrian Newey leaving, as well as uncertainty over how competitive the team will be once new chassis and power until regulations are introduced in 2026.

Hamilton, however, believes Wolff should look a little closer to home in a Mercedes junior and current F2 driver.

"Honestly, I have no idea what Toto's plans are, but I think for me, taking on the youngster," he told media including RacingNews365 ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. "If it were my job, my role, I would take on Kimi [Andrea Antonelli]."

'Carlos is a great driver'

Realistically, it is believed Mercedes' options for next season come down to Sainz and Antonelli. The Spaniard is rumoured to have received an offer from Mercedes, as he mulls over his future, whilst Antonelli is also linked with a Russell-esque introduction to F1 with Williams.

It is thought the German marque has only offered a one-year deal, with an option for a second season, to Sainz. It is understood, however, the 29-year-old wants greater security, and a two-plus-one contract.

When Hamilton's move to Ferrari was announced, with Charles Leclerc already penned to a long-term deal, that forced Sainz out of the Scuderia and into chasing a drive for 2025. 

Since then, the pre-existing links to Audi have ramped up, and despite the suggestions of an offer from Mercedes, a move to Stake F1 - alongside Nico Hulkenberg - remains the most likely destination. 

The outgoing Hamilton feels Sainz would be an asset no matter which team he drives for next season. "I think Carlos [Sainz] is a great driver, so I think wherever he goes, I think he would be a positive for any team," assessed the 39-year-old.

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying