Nico Rosberg warns Mercedes against quick call over Lewis Hamilton replacement

Nico Rosberg weighs in on the debate about how Mercedes should replace Lewis Hamilton

Nico Rosberg
Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg has told Mercedes not to give their backing to Andrea Kimi Antonelli to replace Lewis Hamilton too hastily.

Teenage starlet Antonelli is among the likeliest candidates to step into Hamilton’s shoes with Mercedes in 2025.

Hamilton is leaving for Ferrari, creating a coveted vacancy and giving Toto Wolff a massive decision to make.

But Hamilton’s ex-Mercedes teammate Rosberg thinks Wolff should delay his call.

“Antonelli is definitely a superstar of the future. But, unfortunately, timing-wise it is too early for him.” Rosberg told Sky Sports.

“And too early for Toto. He needs to wait until somewhat later in the year, as we see how Antonelli does in Formula 2.

“He needs a strong season in Formula 2 to even make it a possibility of going straight to Mercedes.

“Otherwise, if anything, some time at Williams would make sense.”

Signs that Antonelli is being seriously considered for a step into F1 next season ramped up this week, when he took part in a private test of a 2021 Mercedes W12 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

The 17-year-old is due to drive the 2022 car later this year, too.

Mercedes missed out on a teenage Max Verstappen so their interest in Antonelli arguably suggests they don’t want to make the same mistake twice.

Fernando Alonso is no longer available after he penned a fresh contract with Aston Martin.

Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris are committed to Ferrari and McLaren respectively.

Carlos Sainz, who Hamilton will displace at Ferrari, is still on the market.

Wolff has said: “You can look at it from various perspectives.

“I believe that we are in a rebuild phase. You need to acknowledge that now three years into these regulations, we have got to do things differently than we've done in the past without throwing overboard what we believe is goodness in the way we operate.

“It could mean putting a young driver in there and giving him an opportunity with less pressure than fighting for victories immediately, or putting a more experienced driver in the car that can help us dig ourselves out of the current performance picture.”

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