Shock name thrown into Hamilton replacement mix

A shock name has been thrown into the mix as a potential replacement at Mercedes for Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

The seven-time F1 champion stunned the sport at the start of February when it was announced he would be leaving Mercedes at the end of this season to join the Scuderia, activating an escape clause in his contract.

Naturally, the ‘silly season’ speculation that ordinarily starts around the August summer break began in earnest far earlier than usual, and a whole host of names have been mentioned as contenders for the vacant second seat alongside George Russell for 2025.

The likes of Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon, and Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is competing in F2 this year, have all been mentioned.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has so far made clear he will not be rushed into making a decision. Only recently, Wolff said: “I want to wait and see how the season goes, how the driver market develops, and then make a decision later in the season.”

Former Haas team boss Guenther Steiner, however, has suggested an intriguing name for Wolff to consider.

“If I were the team boss at Mercedes, I wouldn’t say no to Nico Hulkenberg,” said Steiner when asked about Hamilton’s replacement by German RTL/ntv.

Steiner felt Hulkenberg’s performance in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was “very cool” as the 36-year-old German scored a point for 10th, ending a near year-long drought

Hulkenberg may appear to be an off-the-wall choice but after working alongside him for a year at Haas last season, Steiner is convinced he would have a lot to offer.

Despite never once scoring a podium in 205 starts in which he has driven for Williams, Force India, Renault, Racing Point, Aston Martin, and Haas, Steiner said: “He was often underestimated and he was usually in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Maybe now he is in the right place at the right time.”


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