Reports surface Mercedes has identified Lewis Hamilton’s replacement

Reports surface Mercedes has identified Lewis Hamilton's replacement

Mercedes is reported to have identified Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for the 2025 F1 season.

Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the Silver Arrows have selected Carlos Sainz to take over Lewis Hamilton’s seat for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

According to reliable sources, Sainz has inked a two-year contract with the Brackley-based outfit, which could see him race alongside George Russell in 2025 and 2026, the Italian newspaper adds.

The reports come just under 24 hours after Fernando Alonso’s announcement that he intends to remain with Aston Martin until at least 2026.

The Spaniard’s signing was the first domino to fall in a driver market set off ahead of the 2024 F1 season by Hamilton’s announcement that he would be leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari next year, replacing Sainz.

However, Alonso chose to stick with the green team despite being strongly linked to Mercedes and this means Sainz is the best driver available on the F1 driver market for 2025, with the double world champion now signed.

Mercedes had hoped that, in light of Red Bull’s off-track troubles, Max Verstappen would be available. However, the Dutchman appears to be sticking with the energy drink outfit, which is understandable given their recent on-track results and their star driver is the clear favourite to win the world championship this year after winning three of the first four races in 2024.

Mercedes protégé Andrea Kimi Antonelli was also linked to the vacant seat after team boss Toto Wolff recently regarded him as one of the drivers in the “strongest position” to serve as the replacement.

But it certainly appears to make sense that Mercedes would prefer that Antonelli start his Formula One career with Williams, its engine customer, probably as early as 2025.

Several F1 pundits have argued that Sainz’s possible switch to Mercedes is obvious considering the Ferrari driver’s strong performance so far this season.

The 29-year-old has secured a podium in each of the three races he has entered this season. Furthermore, he won decisively in Melbourne barely two weeks after having surgery for appendicitis, which precluded him from racing in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Mercedes highly regards Sainz’s qualities besides his sheer speed. He is renowned for being an effective team player who places the team’s success before his personal ambitions.

On top of that, Mercedes would benefit from his knowledge in car development given the upcoming rule change for F1 2026, which would certainly make a big impact on engine and car design.

The three-time Grand Prix winner is likely to remain on Red Bull’s shortlist until Mercedes confirms his move at the end of the current campaign. Sainz’s current form has been deemed “fascinating” by Helmut Marko, while Red Bull team manager Christian Horner believes that given his past performance, he cannot rule out signing the driver once more.

However, given Sergio Perez’s outstanding start to the 2024 season, Marko and Horner have both expressed their desire to see the Mexican star’s Red Bull contract extended through 2025.

Eventually, it appears that Sainz joining Mercedes would benefit both sides equally. Sainz will find a competitive squad with a solid championship history, while Mercedes secure a race winner with a track record and development asset.

With the approaching F1 rule change, they can work together to create a strong alliance that can contend for titles in the years to come.

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