George Russell’s verdict on No. 1 likeliest driver to replace Lewis Hamilton

George Russell has given his verdict on Andrea Kimi Antonelli potentially being his Mercedes teammate in 2025.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Monaco Grand Prix,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula…

George Russell sees the prospect of partnering Andrea Kimi Antonelli as a “great opportunity for Mercedes to build into the future” in 2025.

The identity of Russell’s teammate for the 2025 F1 season is still unclear following Lewis Hamilton’s shock decision to join Ferrari.

Antonelli, who is a Mercedes junior driver currently racing in F2, is thought to be top of Mercedes’ shortlist.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has publicly flirted with the idea of signing Max Verstappen, particularly with the new engine rules in mind, combined with Red Bull’s off-track turmoil.

However, it’s looking increasingly likely that Verstappen will remain at Red Bull for 2025 at least, paving the way for Antonelli to get the seat.

Antonelli has already received the backing of Hamilton, with the seven-time world champion declaring at Imola that he’d go for the 17-year-old if he was in Wolff’s shoes.

Speaking to select media including ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Russell offered his verdict on potentially teaming up with Antonelli next year.

“I think Kimi is a fantastic driver,” Russell said. “Obviously he’s racing in Formula 2 this year but he’s no doubt going to be an F1 driver in the future.

“He’s a fellow junior driver as well, coming through the ranks as I did with the team. I think it makes for a great opportunity for Mercedes to build into the future but as I said before, I welcome anybody as my teammate.

“I feel like I have a pretty good teammate right now as it is. I welcome anybody.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Mercedes are in no rush to make a decision on who Russell’s teammates will be as Sky’s Craig Slater reported that he expects an announcement to come in either August or September.

Despite the intense speculation around Antonelli, Wolff insisted in Austria that there’s no need to “rush it”.

“We are hyping that young man for a long time now and he will be very good and a great driver one day in F1, but he’s 17, 14 months ago he drove an F4 car,” Wolff added.

“And there’s so much expectations in Italy and we are a little bit guilty also of that, and I think we should let him do his F2 thing and deliver results and not be too carried away with what could be or should be, you know, look at George he won F3, F2 in his rookie year, and at the same time Kimi has delivered in those junior series and is in F2 now so we’ll see, he’s going to be in F1 one day but let’s not rush it.”

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