16 May 2024

Lewis Hamilton would like to see teenager Kimi Antonelli replace him at Mercedes

16 May 2024

Lewis Hamilton has called on Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to replace him with 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton will leave a vacant seat at the Silver Arrows when he joins Ferrari in 2025.

Wolff has flirted with Max Verstappen while Carlos Sainz – making way for Hamilton at Ferrari – is also a contender for the seat.

“Carlos is a great driver so wherever he goes he would be a positive for any team,” said Hamilton ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

“I have no idea what Toto’s plans are, but for me, if it was my job and my role, I would take on a youngster, and I would take on Kimi.”

Verstappen is under contract with Red Bull until 2028, and despite the team’s off-track troubles this season, looks set to stay put.

Fernando Alonso and Alex Albon were both linked with Hamilton’s seat but have since signed new deals at Aston Martin and Williams respectively, leaving Mercedes protege Antonelli and Sainz, 29, as the apparent frontunners.

Antonelli, who turns 18 in August, has recently tested Mercedes machinery in Austria and Imola as the Silver Arrows weigh up their options. The Italian is expected to be given further running by Mercedes later this year.

Hamilton recorded his best result of a so-far underwhelming Mercedes farewell in Miami a fortnight ago after he finished sixth, but the optimistic 39-year-old added: “The energy in the team is amazing.

“They are so resilient and continue to push all the time, even though we have been knocked down quite a few times this year.

“There is a long way to go. But I am excited with what I know we have coming in the pipeline now. We have found our North Star and we know what we want to do and what to change.”

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