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F1 pundit believes Hamilton replacement hinges on one key factor

F1 pundit believes Hamilton replacement hinges on one key factor

F1 pundit believes Hamilton replacement hinges on one key factor

F1 pundit believes Hamilton replacement hinges on one key factor

Formula 1 pundit Will Buxton believes that if Andrea Kimi Antonelli wins the F2 championship in his rookie season then he could find himself driving for Mercedes in 2025.

The Mercedes junior has stormed through the junior Formulae, and at just 18-years-old will take an immediate jump to Formula 2, skipping Formula 3 in the process.

Lauded as the next Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen-like talent, his promotion to Mercedes may be on the horizon sooner than he ever expected.

The Silver Arrows didn’t quite bank on Hamilton departing after 2024, meaning that they may be forced to promote a then 19-year-old Antonelli early, especially if he wins Formula 2 in his rookie year.

We have seen Red Bull do a similar thing with Max Verstappen at a young age, and just look at how much that paid off for them down the line.

READ MORE: Hamilton breaks silence following BLOCKBUSTER Ferrari switch

Andrea Kimi Antonelli has taken the junior Formulae by storm so far
Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes after 12 seasons in 2024

Buxton: Antonelli even more impressive than Hamilton

Writing in a column for the Formula 1 website, Buxton shared praise for the young Italian who will be firmly pushed into the spotlight this year.

“Mercedes is already looking forward and has already singled out Hamilton’s long-term heir,” he said. “A precocious talent marching his way through the junior formulae in a manner potentially even more impressive than Lewis managed two decades ago.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: US F1 star reveals theory over Bahrain testing issues

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is already being touted for greatness

“Andrea Kimi Antonelli is set to contest Formula 2 this season having been skipped past Formula 3 by the three pointed star.

“Should he win the title in 2024, Toto Wolff has already hinted the team might make a “bold” call on its 2025 line-up.

Alternatively, Wolff could opt to give Antonelli more time and hire the experience of another driver to settle the ship for a season, with the likes of Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly all available at the end of 2024.

Mercedes will have a new driver lineup for 2025 and likely for 2026 if Antonelli isn’t ready in a year, leaving George Russell with work to do as the team’s DeFacto number one.

READ MORE: Legendary TV broadcaster BLASTS F1 over Andretti bid failure

Related

Mercedes Andrea Kimi Antonelli Formula 2 Formula 3
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