Who is replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes F1 in 2025? Potential driver candidates

Out of the two drivers, it’s fair to say that Hamilton is the better driver. However, by signing Sainz, Mercedes would be getting a top driver with plenty of years ahead of him.

 

Notably, Sainz was the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023.

 

He is no stranger to driving for big teams either, spending two seasons with McLaren before his Ferrari switch.

 

Sainz, however, is tipped to join Sauber when they enter the grid as Audi in 2026.

 

 

 

Albon was arguably promoted to a Red Bull seat too quickly in 2019, before being dropped to a reserve role less than two seasons later.

 

However, since being picked up by Williams in 2022, the 27-year-old has performed at a high level.

 

Albon has comfortably out-performed his two most recent teammates – Nicholas Latifi and Logan Sargeant – and could be ready for the next step.

 

He is signed with Williams until the end of 2025, but team principal James Vowles worked with Mercedes for over a decade, so that may make a move easier.

 

 

 

Replacing a seven-time world champion with a teenager would be bold, but F1 may be due a shakeup.

 

Antonelli – a Mercedes junior – will make his F2 debut with Prema this season after skipping F3, and appears destined for the very top.

 

The Silver Arrows reportedly rate the 17-year-old very highly – Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz believes Mercedes view the Italian as “the next Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc”. 

 

If he blitzes the F2 field in the first half of the season, Mercedes could have an interesting decision on their hands.

It’d be a risk, but a very exciting move nonetheless.

 

 

Vesti is another option for Mercedes if they are looking to bring in a young gun.

 

The 22-year-old is considerably more experienced than Antonelli, having spent two seasons in F2 and F3, respectively. 

 

Despite not winning any of those campaigns, he has been given the role of Mercedes reserve driver for 2024. 

 

Notably, he drove in two practice sessions for the team last year and impressed on track.

 

 

Esteban Ocon has never finished higher than eighth in the drivers’ championship, but could better machinery see him realise his potential? He is fairly consistent too, and would be a low-risk option for Mercedes. His current Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly also has a chance.

 

Despite being 42 years old, Fernando Alonso is still performing at a high level with Aston Martin. His contract expires at the end of 2024, so things could line up nicely for a late-career switch.

 

If Daniel Ricciardo has a strong season following a six-month break last year, he could be a consideration, while a return to former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is also not off the cards. Both would bring experience and a cool head. 

 

Mick Schumacher was dropped by Haas after a challenging 2022 rookie season. He is currently a Mercedes reserve driver and his famous father Michael even drove for the Silver Arrows. A promotion to full-time driver may be unlikely, though.

 

 

Why Ferrari wanted Hamilton is clear. The iconic racing brand has been looking for a driver to match its illustrious pedigree for some time and has struggled – relatively speaking – in recent years on the track. Ferrari has not had a driver world champion since Kimi Raikkonen won in 2007.

 

Chairman John Elkann wanted to land a big name and has reportedly long been a fan of Hamilton, per ESPN. With Ferrari’s No. 2 driver Carlos Sainz in contract discussions, that created an opening for Hamilton at Ferrari.

 

It’s not entirely clear what prompted Hamilton’s exit from Mercedes. He and Mercedes have endured back-to-back disappointing seasons, with his most recent win coming in late 2021.

 

 

Hamilton has been connected with Ferrari at points throughout his career, including during his 2023 contract negotiations with Mercedes. But Mercedes president Toto Wolff was confident that while Hamilton and Ferrari met, his man would remain with Mercedes.

 

The allure of racing for the iconic brand of Ferrari, coupled with long-term concerns over winning at Mercedes, may have resulted in Hamilton changing teams. Though Ferrari, like other racing teams, has struggled to keep up with Red Bull, the chance to win with an iconic brand could further build on the historic legacy Hamilton has already cultivated within the sport.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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