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Potential Hamilton replacement labelled ‘best since Verstappen’ after F3 test

Mercedes is seeking a replacement for Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season and this young prospect has received high praise after a recent private test.

Antonelli FRECA
To news overview © Dutch Photo Agency

A driver that has been tipped to be a front-runner for Lewis Hamilton's seat at Mercedes has received high praise following a recent private test.

A lucrative position has opened up on the Formula 1 grid following Hamilton's announcement that he will join Ferrari in 2025.

Although he is currently just 17 years ago, Kimi Antonelli has been promoted to the Formula 2 grid for the upcoming campaign following title success in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine last year.

The Italian will partner Oliver Bearman at Prema for the season as he aims to impress his Mercedes bosses.

Antonelli has been part of the Mercedes junior programme for several years and has been hailed as a star of the future.

The possibility of Antonelli joining Mercedes next year was raised to Team Principal Toto Wolff, who insisted that he was not keen to rush his development.

However, ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok has claimed he spoke to engineers who worked with Antonelli at a recent private test.

“From everything I hear of Antonelli, he’s pretty damn special,” Chandhok wrote on social media.

“Spoke with the F3 engineers who ran him recently on a private test day.

“Said he was the best driver in an F3 car since [Max] Verstappen! McLaren gamble with rookie Lewis in 2007 worked out.”

Verstappen famously raced in F3 during his first season of single-seater competition at 16 years of age, ending the year third in the standings before jumping to F1.

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