George Russell form may force Mercedes’ hand for Lewis Hamilton replacement

Will Mercedes go for Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Fernando Alonso or somebody else to replace Lewis Hamilton?

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG…

The form of George Russell could dictate who Mercedes opt for to replace Lewis Hamilton, according to Sky Sports’ experts.

The crucial decision for Toto Wolff’s team is who can step into the shoes of seven-time F1 champion Hamilton who will move to Ferrari next season.

Whether Russell is able to out-perform Hamilton in their final season together may hold the key to the decision.

Teenager Andrea Kimi Antonelli and two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso are two names in the frame.

“The dust has settled now,” Simon Lazenby said. “You start thinking what the repercussions are for everybody else.

“That’s what happens with a move like this.

“None of us saw it coming and that’s the beauty of it.

“It caught us all off guard.

“It asks questions to what might happen, and the pressure it puts onto A) Charles Leclerc.

“If he was the de facto leader and he is the golden boy of Ferrari for a number of years, all of a sudden there’s now the spectre of Lewis about to arrive.

“Can Carlos now flip this situation onto its head, put pressure early onto Leclerc, outshine him, and put himself in the shop window for others.

“I wonder if he may consider going back to Red Bull.

“For George now? Mercedes and he have a really important first half of the season.

“If he can go toe-to-toe with Lewis and establish himself as the true No1, maybe they take a risk with Antonelli.

“If he doesn’t? Does that bring Fernando Alonso more into play?
“There are so many questions that come from it.”

Rachel Brookes added: “Antonelli, I agree. I think he could be the answer to that Mercedes seat.

“But he’s still got to race in Formula 2 this season. Let’s see what happens there.

“Then, if you don’t pick him, is it worth getting Fernando for one year when the engine regulations are changing again in 2026?

“Who else do you put in that seat?
“My tip would be Lando Norris but it will cost an awful lot to get him out of that McLaren contract!”

Lazenby replied: “There’s an opportunity if we look at this, for 2025.

“Max Verstappen in a Red Bull, Hamilton in a Ferrari, Alonso potentially in a Mercedes.

“Or George in a Mercedes and Alonso stays at Aston Martin, and Lando in a McLaren.”

Brookes said: “In the last year of regulations when it all gets close, anyway.”

Lazenby: “We’ve always wanted to see Alonso, Verstappen and Hamilton go toe-to-toe in the top three cars.”

Martin Brundle asked: “When we get to Silverstone 2025 will we see a sea of red in the grandstands?”

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