Hamilton tells Wolff who should replace him at Mercedes

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

The seven-time Formula 1 champion confirmed before the start of the current season that he will join Ferrari next year after 12 seasons with Mercedes, during which he won six of his titles and helped the team win eight constructors' titles.

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

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

Although Verstappen has a current contract with Red Bull that runs until the end of 2028, he has been heavily linked with Mercedes recently.

The triple world champion is thought to be upset by Adrian Newey's departure, as well as uncertainty over how competitive the team will be once the new structure and strength are in place until regulations are introduced in 2026.

However, Hamilton believes Wolff should look a little closer to home in the Mercedes rookie and current Formula 2 driver.

He told media including: “Honestly, I have no idea what Toto's plans are, but I think for me, facing the young man.” Racing News 365 Before the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. “If it were my job, my role, I would choose Kimi [Andrea Antonelli]”.

“Carlos is a great driver”

Realistically, Mercedes' options for next season are thought to be down to Sainz and Antonelli. The Spaniard is rumored to have received an offer from Mercedes, as he considers his future, while Antonelli is also linked with a Russell-style introduction to Formula 1 with Williams.

The German brand is believed to have only offered a one-year contract, with an option for a second season, to Sainz. However, it is understandable that the 29-year-old wants a greater security, double-plus contract.

When Hamilton's move to Ferrari was announced, with Charles Leclerc already signed to a long-term deal, Sainz was forced to exit the Scuderia and begin chasing a drive for 2025.

Since then, pre-existing links with Audi have intensified, and despite bid suggestions from Mercedes, a move to Stake F1 – alongside Nico Hulkenberg – remains the most likely destination.

The outgoing Hamilton feels Sainz will be an asset no matter which team he leads for next season. “I think Carlos [Sainz] He is a great driver, so I think wherever he goes, I think it will be a positive for any team,” said the 39-year-old.


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