Mercedes told to steal Max Verstappen away as Lewis Hamilton ‘problem’ found – F1 news round-up

Mercedes told to steal Max Verstappen away as Lewis Hamilton ‘problem’ found – F1 news round-up

It’s been another thrilling day of action-packed F1 news as the fallout of Lewis Hamilton’s shock move from Mercedes to Ferrari for F1 2025 continues apace.

The rumour mill was ratcheted up to a whole new level on Friday when Verstappen, Hamilton’s bitter 2021 title rival, was identified as the perfect replacement for the seven-time World Champion.

It couldn’t happen. Could it? Hold on tight for the silliest silly season ever…

Mercedes urged to consider Max Verstappen as Lewis Hamilton replacement

Toto Wolff has been told there must be “no legal or monetary obstacles” as Mercedes seek Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, and Max Verstappen is the “best possible solution.”

Mercedes are still reeling for the news that Hamilton will leave for Ferrari at the end of 2024, with the search beginning for a new team-mate to George Russell.

A former F1 driver has urged Mercedes to sign the best driver possible as Hamilton’s successor, with Verstappen mentioned along with two emerging talents.

Read more: Mercedes told to ignore ‘legal or monetary obstacles’ with ‘best solution’ named

Charles Leclerc identified as a ‘big problem’ for Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton may be arriving at Ferrari as a seven-time World Champion, but he has been warned Charles Leclerc could do to him what Nico Rosberg did to Michael Schumacher at Mercedes.

Leclerc is widely regarded as the fastest driver on the current grid, with Hamilton on the brink of turning 40 when he becomes the Monegasque’s team-mate at the start of next year.

Schumacher’s F1 return proved to be ill-advised when he found himself routinely blown away by future World Champion Rosberg over three seasons – and Hamilton has been warned the same could happen to him with Leclerc.

Carlos Sainz to Red Bull?

Carlos Sainz has been tipped to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull next season, but only for one year with Alex Albon “certainly” a contender for 2026 when his Williams contract ends.

Sainz is the big loser of Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari and now faces a frantic search for a seat on the 2025 grid, with Audi – set to takeover the existing Sauber team ahead of the German manufacturer’s 2026 entry – frequently mentioned as a potential destination.

Sainz and Verstappen were rumoured to have a tricky relationship at Toro Rosso back in 2015/16, but a move to Red Bull has been described as “the natural progression” for Sainz…

Red Bull option on Alex Albon emerges

Red Bull have offered to have a first option on Albon’s future, it has been claimed by Motorsport.com, which if accepted would put the team at the front of the queue to sign him from Williams.

Albon has rebuilt his career at Williams over the last two seasons, having struggled for pace and confidence alongside Verstappen at Red Bull over 2019/20.

The Thai driver remains highly regarded at Red Bull, however, with the offer of an option potentially allowing the team to sign Albon on a three-year contract when his current Williams deal expires at the end of 2025.

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