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Who could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025?

Who could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025?

Do you hear that? The whirring sound off in the distance? That’s Formula One‘s rumour mill, and it has been working overtime to catch up with last week’s shock news that Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of this year and move to Ferrari.

Hamilton will leave behind a gaping hole in Mercedes’ driver lineup as well as an intriguing storyline as team boss Toto Wolff attempts to fill it. In truth, very few can match the seven-time world champion’s driving ability and no one on the grid can match his marketing appeal, but Wolff said Friday that the situation is “a chance to do something bold.” George Russell represents a very safe pair of hands and is under contract until the end of 2025, meaning Mercedes could take a punt on a second driver in the knowledge they will have a very high benchmark to measure against.

Wolff admitted that the timing of Hamilton’s announcement had “bitten” the team as Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris recently committed their futures to Ferrari and McLaren, respectively, but there are still at least five very capable candidates available in one form or another.

Age: 29
Nationality: Spain
Race wins: 2
Contract status: Signed for Ferrari until the end of 2024
Why he’s a fit: As solid of a contender as you’ll find and in need of a drive in 2025
Why he isn’t: Audi may prove more a more appealing destination

It’s fair to say that no one had “Sainz to Mercedes in 2025” on their driver-market bingo card at the start of this year, but with Hamilton taking the Spanish driver’s place at Ferrari next year, the two-time race winner has to become a possibility as a straight swap. Sainz is a solid racer with a track record of measuring up respectably against tough teammates, including Leclerc, Norris and Max Verstappen. Is that really what Mercedes needs, though?

In Russell, the team already has a proven race winner who is four years younger than Sainz and already embedded in the organisation. Wouldn’t a younger driver be a better bet long term?

For Sainz, Mercedes may not be the best option, either.

He has been linked with a move to Audi when the German manufacturer completes its takeover of Sauber and joins F1 as a full works team in 2026. His former McLaren boss Andreas Seidl is CEO at the team and would be able to offer Sainz the opportunity to be part of the building process from 2025…

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