Hamilton’s Top Pick for Mercedes F1 Seat

Lewis Hamilton has disclosed his recommendation for his replacement at Mercedes, as the decision on who will partner George Russell next season remains undecided.

Before the current campaign commenced, the seven-time F1 champion affirmed his move to Ferrari for the upcoming year, concluding a remarkable 12-season tenure with Mercedes, marked by six championship titles and eight constructors’ championships.

Speculation about potential successors to Hamilton has circulated among various drivers on the F1 grid, including Alexander Albon, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, and even Max Verstappen.

Among these contenders, Verstappen, the Red Bull driver, has emerged as a prominent candidate. However, recent developments have seen Albon and Alonso securing contracts with Williams and Aston Martin, respectively.

Despite Verstappen‘s existing contract with Red Bull until 2028, rumors linking him to Mercedes have intensified.

Reports suggest that concerns about Adrian Newey’s departure and uncertainties surrounding the team’s competitiveness post-2026 regulations are factors influencing Verstappen’s purported interest in a move.

Contrarily, Hamilton advocates for a closer-to-home solution, suggesting Mercedes consider promoting a junior driver from within their ranks. He specifically mentioned Kimi (Andrea Antonelli), a current F2 driver, as a viable candidate for the role.

In Hamilton’s own words, “Honestly, I have no idea what Toto’s plans are, but I think for me, taking on the youngster. If it were my job, my role, I would take on Kimi [Andrea Antonelli].”

It’s widely speculated that Mercedes’ choices for the upcoming season boil down to Sainz and Antonelli. Rumors swirl around the Spaniard, who contemplates his future amidst purported interest from Mercedes, while Antonelli is also linked to a potential F1 debut with Williams, echoing Russell’s trajectory.

Reports suggest that Mercedes has extended a one-year contract offer to Sainz, with an option for a second season. However, it’s understood that the 29-year-old seeks greater contractual security, preferring a two-plus-one arrangement.

Hamilton’s shift to Ferrari, alongside Charles Leclerc’s long-term commitment, effectively displaced Sainz from the Scuderia, prompting him to pursue opportunities for 2025.

Consequently, speculation about a potential move to Audi has intensified. Despite purported interest from Mercedes, a transition to Stake F1, alongside Nico Hulkenberg, appears the most probable scenario.

Outgoing Mercedes driver Hamilton believes in Sainz’s capabilities, regardless of his next destination. “I think Carlos [Sainz] is a great driver, so I think wherever he goes, I think he would be a positive for any team,” remarked the 39-year-old.