George Russell hints he already knows Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes replacement

Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2024 season to join Ferrari

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George Russell has hinted he already knows which drivers are on Mercedes‘ shortlist to replace Lewis Hamilton for the Formula 1 2025 season.

The 25-year-old is set to enter his third season with the Silver Arrows and will do so knowing that it will be his final time racing alongside his compatriot Hamilton, who has agreed to join Ferrari from next year after exercising a break clause in his contract.

It has left Mercedes with the difficult decision to find a replacement for the seven-time world champion, 39, with a number of candidates linked with the vacant seat.

Russell revealed he has been consulted in the process of choosing his team-mate when Hamilton leaves – and even joked that he has witnessed names “pop up” on Wolff’s phone, as well as his own.

Lewis Hamilton at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix | Sam Bloxham / Mercedes F1 Team

“I think for any team it’s important to have good harmony between the drivers because that trickles down into all of the engineers and the whole team,” Russell said, when asked for what he wants in his next team-mate.

“Ultimately the decision is with with Toto and the board. We’ve really had a lot of conversations and I’ve been with Toto a lot this winter.

“Seeing the drivers names pop up on the telephone has been quite funny and and even on my phone as well. I’ve had a few phone calls and text messages, so it’s been been quite interesting.

“But as a team we’re in a really good opportunity and position to go into this next chapter, there’s been so much success with Lewis and Mercedes.”

No preference for youth or experience

Among the more prominent names to appear on the list is Fernando Alonso, the 42-year-old who scored eight podium finishes for Aston Martin last year. He is a two-time world champion who is also out of contract for 2025, and as it stands, the Spaniard looks to be the most attractive option for Wolff to choose from.

Other candidates include 17-year-old sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli, the team’s prodigy set to race in Formula 2, ousted Ferrari star Carlos Sainz, Alpine pair Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon and Williams driver Alex Albon, who is close friends with Russell.

And the Kings Lynn-born racer insists he trusts Mercedes to find the right partner for him to lead the team into a new era without Hamilton, who has been with the Brackley team since 2013.

“It’s going to be an interesting few months to see what happens. But from my side, I’ve been team-mates with arguably the greatest driver of all time for the past two years, and I’ve got no concerns at all who lines up alongside me,” Russell added.

“I want to be tested against the very best and I feel that’s what I’ve had for the last two years, whether it’s an experienced driver or a young driver, I feel that personally I’m in a great position to help push the team forward and going into this next chapter for the team.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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