Will Verstappen replace Hamilton at Mercedes?

Verstappen has contract with Red Bull until 2028

By Web Desk
March 28, 2024
Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the season for Ferrari. - Formula 1

Merecedes team boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that Max Verstappen tops the list of likely replacements, if available, for seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Verstappen has contract with Red Bull until 2028 but breakdown in relations between his father Jos and principal Christian Horner has made his future at the team uncertain.

Hamilton will leave Mercedes at the end of the season for Ferrari, with Sunday's Australian GP winner Carlos Sainz vacating his seat.

"We have a slot free, the only one in the top teams -- unless Max decides he goes and then the slot is not going to be free with us anymore," Wolff told Fox Sports Australia in an interview in Melbourne.

Asked if Verstappen would be get the nod, Wolff replied: "Yes. You see what his performance levels are but I wouldn't want to discount the other ones too."

Wolff also made the move to rope in Verstappen as a teenager before he signed for Red Bull but could not offer him an F1 place immediately.

The Austrian also added that he has a good relationship with Jos Verstappen.

"It's a kind of relationship that needs to happen at a certain stage, but we don't know when," he said when asked if signing Verstappen could close a circle.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso, Sainz and Mercedes-backed F2 rookie Kimi Antonelli were also named as possible options by Wolff.

"Obviously there's Fernando, who's very exciting, and Carlos, very good. So there's a few ones," he said.

The triple world champion said in Australia he was comfortable at his "second family" Red Bull and it would be fitting to finish his F1 career with them. However, Verstappen has not ruled out a switch to Mercedes in the future.

Mercedes, who were a dominant force on the track in the past, failed to secure a win in a race last season and suffered a double retirement in Melbourne, their first since 2018.