Mercedes have five options to replace Lewis Hamilton with F1 career in jeopardy
Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Lewis Hamilton could walk away from F1 following his heartache in Abu Dhabi, where he saw the championship snatched away from him in controversial style. The Briton looked set to land a record eighth title before carnage ensued after a late safety car was deployed and Max Verstappen was allowed to pull level with his rival and win the race and championship courtesy of a final-lap shootout.
In the aftermath of the season-finale, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has been unable to give any guarantees that Hamilton won’t retire.
“I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time,” Wolff instead stated.
“It’s going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened. I don’t think we will ever come over it – that’s not possible.”
Rumours have been rife that Hamilton will call it a day and end his F1 career level with legendary driver Michael Schumacher on seven titles.
And Express Sport takes a look at five drivers who could replace Hamilton at the Silver Arrows.
Stoffel Vandoorne is already part of the Mercedes team as an F1 test driver and an EQ Formula E racer.
The 29-year-old previously raced for McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
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The year before he had become the first reserve driver to score points on their debut in almost a decade as he finished 10th when he replaced Alonso at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
He has impressed in Formula E and is regarded as one of the best Belgian drivers.
Esteban Ocon made his F1 debut in 2016 when he replaced Rio Haryanto for Manor Racing midway through the season.
Force India snapped Ocon up for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, where the Frenchman raced alongside rising star Sergio Perez.
Following his departure from Force India, the 25-year-old took up a role as a Mercedes reserve driver, before signing for Renault – who later became Alpine – ahead of the 2020 season.
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Nyck de Vries
Like Vandoorne , Nyck de Vries is another Mercedes test driver and EQ Formula E racer and is therefore already part of the Silver Arrows set-up.
The 26-year-old Dutchman spent three years in F2 and has also raced in the European Le Mans Series with G-Drive Racing and FIA WEC.
Valtteri Bottas raced alongside Hamilton at Mercedes for five years, with the pair coming to blows on a number of occasions due to their fierce rivalry.
Bottas has bags of experience in F1 and has 178 races and 67 podiums to his name.
The 32-year-old has already announced his departure from the Silver Arrows, however, as he signed for Alfa Romeo when George Russell was named as Hamilton’s team-mate for the 2022 season.
It would be a safe option if Mercedes were to try and reverse the move.
Nico Hulkenberg has raced for a plethora of F1 teams since making his debut in 2010.
He is currently a reserve driver for Aston Martin and impressed when standing in for Perez and Lance Stroll last season under the Racing Point branding.
Hulkenberg is another driver with plenty of experience and could do a short-term job, despite failing to ever finish on the podium.
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