George Russell’s Performance Key in Mercedes’ Decision on Hamilton’s Successor

The performance of George Russell may play a pivotal role in influencing Mercedes’ choice for Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, as suggested by Sky Sports’ experts.

The primary dilemma facing Toto Wolff’s team revolves around selecting someone capable of filling the considerable shoes of the seven-time F1 champion, who is set to join Ferrari in the upcoming season.

The outcome of Russell’s performance compared to Hamilton’s in their final season together could hold significant weight in making this critical decision.

Among the contenders for the role are teenager Andrea Kimi Antonelli and two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso.

Simon Lazenby pondering on the repercussions of Hamilton’s exit at Mercedes remarked: “The dust has settled now, you start thinking what the repercussions are for everybody else.

“That’s what happens with a move like this. None of us saw it coming and that’s the beauty of it. It caught us all off guard.

“It asks questions to what might happen, and the pressure it puts onto Charles Leclerc.

“If he was the de facto leader and he is the golden boy of Ferrari for a number of years, all of a sudden there’s now the spectre of Lewis about to arrive.

“Can Carlos now flip this situation onto its head, put pressure early onto Leclerc, outshine him, and put himself in the shop window for others.

“I wonder if he may consider going back to Red Bull. For George now? Mercedes and he have a really important first half of the season.

“If he can go toe-to-toe with Lewis and establish himself as the true No1, maybe they take a risk with Antonelli.

“If he doesn’t? Does that bring Fernando Alonso more into play? There are so many questions that come from it.”

Rachel Brookes, concurring with fellow pundit Simon Lazenby commented: “Antonelli, I agree. I think he could be the answer to that Mercedes seat, but he’s still got to race in Formula 2 this season. Let’s see what happens there.

“Then, if you don’t pick him, is it worth getting Fernando for one year when the engine regulations are changing again in 2026?

“Who else do you put in that seat? My tip would be Lando Norris but it will cost an awful lot to get him out of that McLaren contract!”

Lazenby replied: “There’s an opportunity if we look at this, for 2025. Max Verstappen in a Red Bull, Hamilton in a Ferrari, Alonso potentially in a Mercedes or George in a Mercedes and Alonso stays at Aston Martin, and Lando in a McLaren.”

Brookes said: “In the last year of regulations when it all gets close, anyway.”

Lazenby then added: “We’ve always wanted to see Alonso, Verstappen and Hamilton go toe-to-toe in the top three cars.”