‘I would love him…’: Lewis Hamilton reveals who he’d want to replace him at Mercedes next season

Lewis Hamilton has thrown his weight behind Sebastian Vettel as the potential candidate to replace him at Mercedes next season when the British driver moves to Ferrari.

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F1: Lewis Hamilton is all in for Sebastian Vettel coming to Mercedes Photograph:(Reuters)

Hamilton’s support comes at a time when it has been revealed that Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff has been speaking to Vettel about a potential comeback.

“I would love for Seb to come back and I think it would be an amazing option for the team,” said Hamilton.

“German driver, multi-world championship-winning driver, and someone who has amazing values who would continue to take the team forward. I’d love it if he came back,” the Briton added.

Vettel, the four-time world champion, retired from the grid at the end of 2022, having donned the Aston Martin jersey in his final hurrah. Hamilton said he wanted someone that cared about the team to replace him and the German ticked nearly all the boxes.

“The only thing I really care about is that the team takes on someone with integrity and that are aligned with the team and where the team’s going. Someone compassionate that’s able to work with great people and continues to lift them up. There’s so many great people in this team.”

Fans have been long hoping that the former Red Bull driver returns to F1 once again. He is still only 36 and younger than both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso who are going strong on the circuit.

Vettel and Wolff exchange texts

Last month, Vettel confirmed that he was indeed exchanging texts with Wolff and pondering a return to the paddock.

“I was surprised by this change [Hamilton to Ferrari]. The Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff didn’t call me, but we briefly exchanged text messages,” said Vettel.

“But so far it’s not an issue for me, also because at 36 I still have all the time in the world. So it’s not going away.”

Speaking to Sky Germany, Wolf said Vettel still had the potential to compete in F1. Wolf added that Mercedes needed to quickly decide in the coming months if they wanted a young driver to replace Hamilton or some experienced driver.

“Sebastian is a great guy and a giant of this sport. I think he still has the speed. After three or four races, we have to decide whether to go for youth or experience. Or do we optimise in the short term and give the youngsters more time to gain experience?” said Wolff.

Vettel retired from F1 with 53 victories to his name and still remains one of the biggest crowd-pullers the sport has ever seen. He recently tested the Porsche 963 sports car that is currently competing in the World Endurance Championship, leading to speculations that the German might compete at Le Mans 24 Hours, scheduled to be held later this year.

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