Mercedes pick Lewis Hamilton replacement as Toto Wolff ‘makes mind up’

The Silver Arrows could be edging closer to announcing Hamilton's replacement with Wolff said to have already made his decision

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has decided to replace Lewis Hamilton with the team’s prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli for the 2025 Formula 1 season, according to F1 paddock insider Will Buxton.

Wolff has been searching to find Hamilton’s successor since the Briton dropped the bombshell that he would be joining Ferrari after triggering a break clause in his contract in February.

Several top drivers have been linked with the vacant seat, including Verstappen, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and the retired four-time championship winner Sebastian Vettel.

It appears unlikely that Verstappen will leave Red Bull when Mercedes are struggling, while Sainz is not believed to be in the running for the seat despite securing a race win and two other podium finishes in three races this season.

Kimi Antonelli could drive for Mercedes in Formula in 2025. | Mercedes

Now, according to F1 presenter Buxton, the Austrian supremo is ready to risk it all by handing Antonelli, 17, a chance to drive alongside George Russell next season, as he attempts to learn from his past mistakes.

Antonelli is going to Mercedes. I think Toto has made his mind up: he wants Antonelli in the seat,” Buxton said, speaking on The Red Flags Podcast. “Because he’s p***ed. He’s p***ed that he missed the opportunity to give Max the opportunity back in 2014. So you put Antonelli in the seat.”

An ideal opportunity for Mercedes

The Silver Arrows have struggled so far this season and have only collected 34 points in the constructors’ standings after four races, with the W15 proving to be more troublesome than first thought for Hamilton and Russell.

And Buxton believes this could actually help Antonelli – who is currently driving in Formula 2 with Prema Racing – adapt to the rigours and pressure that comes with being an F1 driver.

“’25 is a write-off for [Mercedes] anyway, until the new regulations in ’26,” Buxton said. “So you bring him in, no pressure, get him to know the team, get him to work with George, understand what Mercedes are all about.”

Wolff had already dropped a hint that he could be relying on Antonelli for next year after planning an extensive test for the Italian inside the W12 – their 2021 car – at Silverstone.

And the youngster admitted he relished the experience despite being hit by snowfall on the first day, driving for over 310 miles on track.

“First day done in an F1 car and it’s been an incredible experience. I loved every second of it,” Antonelli said, speaking in a video uploaded to Mercedes‘ official X account.

Joe Krishnan
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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