George Russell amused as F1 drivers scramble for Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes seat

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 paddock at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 paddock.

George Russell has found it “funny” to see the flood of drivers getting in touch with Mercedes, and him directly, over the 2025 vacancy to be created by the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

The latest F1 ‘silly season’ promises to be a wild one, having received the perfect stimulus when Hamilton made the shock pre-season announcement that he would become a Ferrari driver as of 2025.

George Russell lifts lid on battle to replace Lewis Hamilton

A host of drivers have already been linked with that 2025 Mercedes drive, including Carlos Sainz, who Hamilton is set to replace at Ferrari from next season.

Aston Martin’s two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, Alex Albon, Esteban Ocon and Mercedes Junior Team protégé Kimi Antonelli have also seen their names brought up in the speculation.

And while Russell did not say which drivers, he said it has been “funny” to see all the calls and messages coming in as the quest to be named Hamilton’s Mercedes replacement heats up, Russell saying some of these calls and texts have been coming not only the way of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, but his as well.

Quizzed on how strong his influence is when it comes to deciding his future Mercedes team-mate, Russell said: “I think for any team it’s important to have good harmony between the drivers, because that trickles down to all of the engineers, and the whole team, but ultimately the decision’s with Toto and the board.

“We’ve already had a lot of conversations and I’ve been with Toto a lot this winter, so seeing the drivers’ names pop up on the telephone has been quite funny and even on my phone as well, I’ve had a few phone calls and and text messages.

“So it’s been quite interesting, but as a team, we’re in a really good opportunity and position to go into this next chapter, [after] so much success with Lewis and Mercedes.” recommends

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Mercedes has work to do though if they are to recapture their glory days, with the start of F1 2024 providing further frustration for a team which has not tasted victory since Russell’s 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix triumph.

And after crossing the line P6 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Round 2 of the new season, Russell concerningly claimed that Mercedes are losing, not finding performance in the W15 as a race weekend progresses.

“We’re still really trying to understand this car,” Russell told media after the Saudi Arabian GP.

“Because we have shown true performance at points over the last two weekends. FP1, straight out of the box, we were at the top of the timesheets and always in the top three, FP2, P2.

“And then both weekends the pace has just fallen away from us.

“That hasn’t been our competitors getting faster, that has been us getting slower, so we need to understand why that is.

“But it’s fine margins now. It’s so close with ourselves, McLaren, Aston [Martin]. Charles [Leclerc] is just a smidge ahead. We just need to tap into a bit more.”

Russell outqualified and finished ahead of Hamilton on race day in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

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