A former Mercedes F1 driver selects Lewis Hamilton’s replacement as ‘exceptionally comprehensive.’

March 27, 2024

At the conclusion of this season, Lewis Hamilton will depart from Mercedes and transfer to Ferrari. Nyck de Vries, a former Williams driver, has expressed his confidence in Kim Antonelli as an excellent replacement for Hamilton.

According to Nyck de Vries, 17-year-old prodigy Kimi Antonelli is a deserving replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes given his exceptional driving skills. De Vries has high hopes for Antonelli and believes he would be an asset to the team.

Hamilton, who signed a multi-year contract just seven months ago at the age of 39, announced last month that he will be departing from Mercedes and heading to Ferrari for the 2025 season. Toto Wolff now faces a challenging decision in replacing this seven-time world champion as both Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz are among the more experienced contenders rumored for his vacated position.

In the meantime, Antonelli is a viable alternative. Despite being young and having just debuted in Formula 2 last month, he has progressed through various levels of competition. While it may be too early to fill Hamilton’s position on Mercedes for him, De Vries believes that Antonelli could make the leap sooner than expected.

“Kimi Antonelli is a remarkable young driver for Mercedes,” De Vries mentioned in his conversation with RacingNews365. “Undoubtedly, Lewis’ departure will be felt due to his exceptional skills and track record, perhaps making him the most prominent driver of the past ten years.”

Despite one door closing, another will always open. Change is not necessarily negative; it simply occurs naturally. I am optimistic that Kimi will be presented with the opportunity as he possesses exceptional abilities and potential. He is a superb driver who exhibits great prowess in all facets of his craft.”

In the previous month, Wolff, principal of the Mercedes team talked about Antonelli’s likelihood of taking over from Hamilton and stated that they were caught off-guard with Lewis’ situation at the start of February. He added that he aimed to take a different approach in selecting their driver for next year.

Since the age of 11, Kimi has been a part of our junior category and watching him mature into an admirable young man as he rises through the ranks is rewarding. However, it’s important to acknowledge that he is still only 17 years old and relieve some pressure off his shoulders.

Although he has achieved everything necessary for his rookie season, I predict that he will transition to becoming a Formula 1 driver. He possesses great potential and is expected to excel in this field, even though he hasn’t started competing in the Formula 2 campaign yet. The initial practice sessions at Bahrain were quite challenging but we must wait and observe how things unfold.”

Despite finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship last season, Hamilton is experiencing a arduous start to this year’s campaign. In fact, he has never started a Formula 1 season as poorly as this before; with just eight points collected from the initial three races and withdrawing from Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.