Lewis Hamilton has struggled to compete at the front during the 2022 championship after he failed miserably to win his eighth championship title last year. The Briton lost the championship during the season’s final race against Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. Since then, the seven-time world champ has not won a single race and secured only a couple of podium finishes with a P3 in Bahrain and Montreal over the course of nine races in 2022. Thus, the probability of Hamilton winning his eighth championship this season has almost slipped away as Verstappen has a 98-point lead over the Briton in the drivers’ championship.
Recently, former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone claimed that Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is getting fed up with Hamilton’s approach this season and could end up replacing the Briton soon. Bernie claimed that Lewis might sell his seat to Wolff for half the money he was promised in his deal for this season. The 91-old thought that Lewis was not trying hard to win and did not seem bothered about losing.
The British businessman also claimed that Hamilton might have faked the back pain that he experienced in Baku. Thus, amid rumors that Hamilton might end up losing his Mercedes seat, several talented rivers could replace him. So, who are the potential contenders to team up with George Russell if Hamilton leaves? Keep reading ahead to find out!
There is no question about Mercedes’ love affair with British drivers. Hamilton has won six championships for the German outfit since he joined the team in 2013. Moreover, George Russell has been impressive in his rookie year for Mercedes. Thus, if the Silver Arrows decided to go for a British duo of drivers, Lando Norris might just be the perfect option for them.
The 22-year-old made his F1 debut with McLaren in 2019. Lando Norris has attained the four fastest laps and a pole position so far. But the McLaren driver has not won a Grand Prix yet. However, he is an impressive driver who has the potential to do wonders with a better car. But unfortunately, Mercedes are unlikely to get their hands on Norris as the British driver recently signed a four-year extension with his current team.
The 25-year-old has impressed with his driving skills for Alpine. He won his first race with the team last year at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Ocon is currently ninth in the drivers’ championship. The French driver has also worked with Mercedes as a junior and reserve driver. Therefore, he could get an opportunity to drive for the Silver Arrows. However, Esteban signed a contract wth Alpine, which will take him until the end of 2024.
The Australian driver has about ten years of Formula One driving experience. The 32-year-old made his F1 debut with HRT in 2011. He has won eight races since then, with the most recent coming at the Italian Grand Prix last year. However, the McLaren driver has fallen behind his younger teammate Norris this season.
It is highly unlikely that McLaren will extend his contract after 2022. Therefore, while there might be an opening to sign Ricciardo, it would be interesting to see if Mercedes would bet on a struggling driver to replace a legend like Hamilton. However, there is no doubt that a Mercedes stint could easily transform Daniel’s career with his potential.
Nyck de Vries
De Vries currently drives for Mercedes’ Formula E team. The Dutchman is also a reserve driver for the Silver Arrows. Moreover, Wolff has expressed his liking for de Vries and commended him for his winning abilities. Therefore, it is highly likely that the youngster might get a golden opportunity if Lewis decides to step down anytime soon.
The 27-year-old is the reigning Formula E champion and also won the Formula 2 championship in 2019. Thus, it seems like Nyck may be the best option to take over the vacant Mercedes seat in the future alongside George Russell.