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Lewis Hamilton tips ex-rival as 'amazing option' to fill Mercedes void

Lewis Hamilton tips ex-rival as 'amazing option' to fill Mercedes void

Lewis Hamilton has tipped Sebastian Vettel as an “amazing option” to replace him at Mercedes.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton is moving to Ferrari from next season, leaving big shoes to fill at a team where he has lifted all but one of his drivers’ titles.

Vettel, meanwhile, has hinted at a return to the Formula One grid next year, having left in 2022.

The German won four titles back to back between 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull and has recently had a test with Porsche that could see him race at Le Mans this year.

Vettel, 36, admitted in an interview on Wednesday that “it does cross my mind” when it comes to securing a new drive and that he had spoken to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

The departing Hamilton said it was never a consideration of his to take time away from the sport, before hailing Vettel as an ideal replacement at a team that has struggled for pace in the past two years.

“No, I’ve never thought about taking a year or two off and then coming back. When I’m gone, hopefully I’m gone for good,” he said.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were title rivals for several seasons (AFP via Getty Images)
Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton were title rivals for several seasons (AFP via Getty Images)

“I would love for Seb to come back and it would be an amazing option for the team. A German driver, multi-world championship-winning driver and someone who has amazing values who would continue to take the team forward. I’d love it if he came back.”

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell is confirmed for Mercedes in 2025 and was enthused when it was pitched to him he could be joined by a returning Vettel.

“Sebastian’s a great person,” he said. “His personality is missed on the grid. It’s important we have the best 20 drivers all competing for race wins and championships.

“I’m really happy and open to have anybody as my team-mate. Whether it’s a world champion or a rookie, it doesn’t change how I go about my business.”