George Russell has dropped a major hint over his possible preferred choice to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in F1 2025, posting an image of himself with outgoing Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz to social media.
Hamilton rocked the F1 world on Thursday by announcing that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of the 2024 season, bringing an end to the seven-time World Champion’s glorious spell with the Brackley-based team.
The British driver will partner Charles Leclerc, who recently signed a long-term contract extension with Ferrari, with Sainz to leave the Scuderia at the expiry of his contract at the end of this year.
George Russell appears to back Mercedes move for Carlos Sainz
Sainz’s next destination is uncertain, with the two-time grand prix winner frequently linked to Audi – who will arrive in F1 in collaboration with the existing Sauber team in 2026 – over the last 12 months.
After winning the Dakar Rally behind the wheel of an Audi last month, Sainz’s father claimed the German manufacturer is “guaranteed” to be successful in F1 and revealed he had “exchanged views” with the Ferrari star about joining the project.
However, a straight swap with Hamilton cannot be ruled out with Russell seemingly given his backing to a Mercedes move for Sainz.
In a social media post on Thursday, Russell uploaded an image of himself patting Sainz on the back on the grid at last year’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix with the caption: “The crossovers we love to see.”
Russell, who beat Hamilton to Mercedes’ only victory of F1’s current ground effect era at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, went on to pay tribute to his outgoing team-mate in a separate post on Friday morning.
“It’s been special to race alongside you, Lewis Hamilton,” he wrote. “Let’s make this season one to remember.”
In the aftermath of Ferrari’s announcement confirming the arrival of Hamilton in 2025, Sainz published a short statement to social media in reaction to the shock news.
He wrote: “Following today’s news, Scuderia Ferrari and myself will part ways at the end of 2024. We still have a long season ahead of us and, like always, I will give my absolute best for the team and for the Tifosi all around the world.
“News about my future will be announced in due course.”
Sainz arrived at Ferrari at the beginning of the 2021 season, replacing four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel as Leclerc’s team-mate following spells with Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren.
The Spaniard claimed his first F1 win at the 2022 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, doubling his tally in 2023 by converting pole into victory at the Singapore Grand Prix – becoming the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race last season and ending Max Verstappen’s record 10-race winning streak in the process.