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F1: Top five replacements for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Published at :February 3, 2024 at 1:11 PM
Modified at :February 3, 2024 at 1:11 PM
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Hisan Kidwai

As Lewis Hamilton makes a historic move to Ferrari, the Formula 1 world shifts its focus to the vacant seat at Mercedes. With George Russell set to lead the team, the challenge of finding a worthy successor to Hamilton begins.

Mercedes, a powerhouse in the F1 world, is confronted with the crucial task of selecting a worthy successor to Hamilton, someone who can seamlessly integrate into the team’s dynamics alongside the rising star, George Russell.

Here are the top five contenders who could fill the void left by the seven-time world champion:

5. Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon F1 Formula 1
Esteban Ocon has a longstanding connection with Mercedes

Esteban Ocon, a 27-year-old French driver, stands out as a notable contender for the vacant spot at Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton’s departure. Ocon has a longstanding connection with Mercedes, having been part of their junior program earlier in his career. Despite currently driving for Alpine, he remains under the management of Mercedes, showcasing the continued interest and investment the German manufacturer has in his career.

While there might be other options on the table, Ocon’s solid performance record and ongoing relationship with Mercedes position him as a reliable choice to partner with George Russell and fill the void left by Hamilton’s departure.

4. Andrea Kimi Antonelli

A wildcard in the mix, the 17-year-old Italian, currently in the Mercedes Junior Team program, presents an exciting prospect. While Antonelli is yet to debut in Formula Two, his impressive victories in lower-tier series make him a rising star.

In 2022, he secured victories in the Italian F4 and ADAC Formula 4 championships, followed by triumphs in the Formula Regional Middle East and Formula Regional European championships in 2023.

While it may be a bit of a long shot, Antonelli’s impressive track record and affiliation with Mercedes make him a noteworthy candidate for consideration. If not deemed ready for a seat at the former champions, Mercedes might explore the possibility of offering him experience, potentially through collaboration with the Williams team.

3. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso is currently with Aston Martin, but his contract expires at the end of the year

Fernando Alonso, a double Formula One world champion, is currently with Aston Martin, but his contract expires at the end of the year. Despite being the oldest driver on the grid at 42, Alonso delivered an impressive performance in 2023, achieving eight podium finishes and showcasing enduring competitiveness.

With his contract ending in 2024, Alonso becomes a potential free agent for the 2025 season. He could serve as a solid stop-gap option for Mercedes, offering experience and a hunger for success.

2. Alex Albon

After a successful stint with Mercedes-powered Williams, Albon becomes a strong contender. His familiarity with the Mercedes engine, combined with a close relationship with George Russell, makes him an attractive option.

Ever since joining Williams, Albon consistently secured top-10 finishes, even though he piloted one of the slower cars in the competition. Outperforming his teammates by a score of 31-3 over the past two years, his 2023 season stands out as one of his most impressive campaigns.

Albon’s strong performance, coupled with his positive history with Mercedes figures, positions him as a compelling replacement for Lewis Hamilton.

1. Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz British GP
Carlos Sainz will be leaving Ferrari at the end of 2024 F1 season

The Spanish driver, displaced by Hamilton at Ferrari, emerges as a natural choice for Mercedes. Sainz presents a like-for-like swap in terms of experience and skill. However, Sainz has also been on the radar of Audi, which is set to enter Formula 1 as a works team in 2026 after taking over Sauber.

The potential move to Audi could offer Sainz the position of the team’s number-one driver, particularly given his strong connections with Audi through his father, who recently won the Dakar Rally with the team.

Despite being a contender for the Mercedes seat, Sainz’s future remains uncertain as negotiations unfold, with multiple factors influencing the decision.

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