Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2024
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F1 fans make feelings clear on best replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes | F1 | Sport

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been urged to overlook Kimi Antonelli when it comes to selecting Lewis Hamilton‘s replacement for 2025. The Silver Arrows are on the hunt for a driver to partner George Russell from next year onwards, with Hamilton set to join Ferrari on a multi-year contract.

Antonelli is widely reported to be Mercedes‘ top choice, having been fast-tracked into Formula Two after winning last year’s FRECA Championship. The teenager has already taken part in a behind-closed-doors test for Mercedes and is expected to be given more sessions before the end of this year.

However, the vast majority of respondents to our latest F1 poll believe the Silver Arrows should bring in a more experienced candidate. An overwhelming 55 per cent of voters picked Carlos Sainz as the ideal driver to succeed Hamilton, with Antonelli receiving just 16 per cent of the vote.

Sainz will leave Ferrari at the end of the season to make way for Hamilton and is yet to announce his next move. Reports have suggested that he is a target for Williams, while Alpine have also been thrust into the mix with Esteban Ocon on his way out.

Antonelli has been touted as a future Mercedes driver for a number of years but has struggled to make an impact in his debut F2 campaign. He currently sits eighth in the standings, having jumped one place after ending his wait for a maiden race victory at Silverstone last weekend.

Mercedes would have been hoping for Antonelli to perform better, given that he could be driving for them in F1 in less than a year. It remains to be seen if he will still be promoted into Hamilton’s seat or if the Silver Arrows will decide to sign a more proven candidate instead.

Wolff previously claimed that Mercedes were not interested in a deal for Sainz but appeared to go back on his word during the British Grand Prix weekend, explaining that the dynamic nature of the driver market is opening up new opportunities.

Quizzed on Antonelli’s current rate of development and whether Sainz could be in contention for a Mercedes seat in 2025, Wolff said: “He has a lot of pressure. He’s being talked a lot about. His junior formula and go-karting track record is one of a kind and that’s clear that the pressure ramps up.

“But like his father says, a champion needs to be thrown in the cold water and needs to swim. They are very clear about that, but the driver market at the moment is quite a dynamic, interesting thing. I think because some of the drivers have more options and some of the teams have more options, so it’s interesting.”

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