Mercedes should take Max Verstappen and George Russell gamble if Lewis Hamilton retires

F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters.Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.You can unsubscribe at any time.

All of the noise coming out of Mercedes is that Lewis Hamilton was the driving factor behind his contract extension only being for a further year and that casts huge doubt over whether he will continue his F1 career beyond this season.

The 36-year-old can surpass Michael Schumacher and move into a league of his own if he wins an eighth world titles.

Mercedes are expected to continue their dominance as Hamilton steaks his claims to being the greatest driver of all time.

But then he may step away from F1 and the Silver Arrows would have a huge void to fill.

Many drivers have been linked with making the move to join Mercedes but first the Brackley-based outfit must prove they can deliver a Championship-winning car under the new regulations, which come into force next year.

If Toto Wolff’s team have the strongest car once again then it will be very hard for any driver to turn them down.

JUST IN: F1 news: Vettel already having Aston Martin impact as Hamilton warned

Valtteri Bottas is also out of contract at the end of the year which leaves Mercedes with the possibility of refreshing their entire line-up.

And they should take this opportunity with both hands to bring in two of the most exciting drivers on the grid.

George Russell is widely expected to make the step up if he keeps his head down and impresses for Williams this year.

The 22-year-old, who is managed by Mercedes, shone when he stepped in for Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year.

Lewis Hamilton tipped to break Schumacher record by old foe Rosberg [NEWS]
Lewis Hamilton tipped to ditch Mercedes to ‘earn more’ in 2022 [RUMOURS]
Mercedes given Verstappen hope by Red Bull [LATEST]

Both Wolff and Russell have hinted that they could pair up for the 2022 campaign.

But then that leaves the question of who will be the Brit’s new team-mate?

Bottas could stick around and lend his experience to the youngster but that would come with a risk to Mercedes’ Constructors’ Championship hopes.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently said: “I am sure should Lewis decide to stop then Max will naturally be the driver at the top of Mercedes’ list.”

The 47-year-old makes a valid point as Verstappen is likely to be the heir to Hamilton’s throne.

And the 23-year-old has a clause in his contract which could let him walk away from Red Bull for free if he finishes outside the top three in the Drivers’ Championship.

It would make complete sense if Wolff made enquiries for both Verstappen and Russell with a view to letting them race alongside one another.

However, that decision would also be a huge gamble – as Hamilton’s partnership with Nico Rosberg showed in 2016 – but even that pairing paid off in the standings.

Source: Read Full Article