Left-field Lewis Hamilton replacement mooted who hasn’t been mentioned yet

A new name has been thrown into the debate about who should replace Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Race
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17,…

Suggestions for Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes have included some of Formula 1’s big names.

Fernando Alonso - and even the retired Sebastian Vettel - have cropped up in conversation for who could replace Ferrari-bound Hamilton.

Toto Wolff was even asked about the fantasy signing of Max Verstappen.

But Oscar Piastri, despite a hugely impressive rooke F1 season, has not had much backing until his name was mooted on the Sky F1 show.

Natalie Pinkham first tipped her Hamilton replacement: “I’d like to see Alex Albon in there. I think he deserves it.

“Going to Williams was brilliant for his career. It boosted his confidence.

“But now it’s time to take a step back to the front of the grid.”

Martin Brundle added: “They will be looking at Fernando Alonso, Albon, don’t forget Esteban Ocon is within the Mercedes family, kind of on-loan to Alpine.

“Carlos Sainz has got to be on their list. I think that’s their shortlist.”

But Karun Chandhok added a name: “I’d like to see either Sainz or Oscar Piastri.

“We know Oscar has a contract with McLaren. But [his manager] Mark Webber has negotiated plenty of F1 contracts in the past and I’m sure there will be an escape clause somewhere, as we’ve seen with Lewis.

“Oscar’s debut season was brilliant. He had weaknesses in his race pace, no doubt about it, but he has another season to build on that.

“I think Oscar and George as a line-up at Mercedes is a good one.”

Pinkham asked: “But if you’re Oscar and Mark, would you go to Mercedes if you’ve seen that Lewis has left?

“And leave McLaren, which may be a better bet?”

Chandhok replied: “It’s whether you think it’s a better bet. With the new engine formula coming in 2026, I’d want to go to a works team, as Lewis did in 2014.”

Whoever comes in will be alongside George Russell, who delivered Mercedes’ sole grand prix victory of the past two seasons in 2022 in Brazil.

Damon Hill said: “George will be sat there thinking: ‘Now it’s my time, he’s left!’

“He will want to be regarded as the future of the team, as the strong hope.

“So whoever comes alongside him will have to fit into that.

“The fact that we are not thinking that Mercedes have George there, and will be as strong as ever, just shows the size of the hole that Lewis has left.”

Pinkham had the final say: “Alex and George are best mates, remember…”

Williams have already issued a strong reminder that Albon’s contract runs until the end of 2025 so he won’t be a free agent who Mercedes can acquire easily.

Alonso, at Aston Martin, will become a free agent at the end of this season, however.

It’s a similar story for Sainz at Ferrari. He will be replaced by Hamilton next year and is seeking a new landing spot.

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