Lewis Hamilton lost out on his 8th world title following a controversial end to the Abu Dhabi GP. The Briton was furious with the developments during the Safety car period. He even called it “manipulated” over the team radio. However, he was gracious enough to congratulate rival Max Verstappen on winning his maiden title.
Days later, the Mercedes driver deserted the FIA prize-giving ceremony, giving rise to speculations over his continuation in F1. Notably, Hamilton made it clear in earlier statements that he will be around for a while. But there are insinuations that the Abu Dhabi debacle might push him towards retirement. If the unthinkable does indeed happen, who can be a potential alternative to Hamilton at the Silver Arrows?
Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion. His are certainly not the easiest shoes to fill in. His unprecedented dominance over the last eight years is something this sport hasn’t witnessed very often. With Valtteri Bottas off to Alfa Romeo and George Russell already in Mercedes, let’s find out the other possible options.
The 2022 FIA F2 champion Piastri has been on a dominant run, winning three F1 feeder titles in the last 3 years. However, the Aussie star could not secure a seat in F1 after the last available seat at Alfa Romeo was given to Chinese racer Guanyu Zhou. Nevertheless, Piastri is desperate to perform at the top level and could be a possible candidate for Hamilton’s vacant seat.
A Mercedes junior program driver, Ocon has had an impressive 2021 season with the Alpine F1 team. The Frenchman registered his first F1 win this year at the Hungarian GP. He shares a good relationship with Toto Wolff but it would likely cost Mercedes money to free him from his contract with the French team. He can still be a viable choice for the Silver Arrows.
Another driver with an impressive career at the junior level, he currently drives for the Mercedes-EQ team. He has been a part of the paddock with the Mclaren team; he is also a test driver for the Mercedes F1 team. He might be willing to jump back in an F1 car and could be a good option.
The British-Thai racer is making his return with the Williams team after he could not secure a seat for the 2021 season. Albon also shares a great bond with Mercedes driver George Russell back from their junior days. He can replace Hamilton in this hypothetical scenario.
He partners Vandoorne in the Mercedes EQ team and Mercedes F1 team as another reserve driver. The Dutch driver has been a part of Mercedes for a considerably long time The 26-year-old is well equipped to step in the Silver Arrows F1 car. All names aside, fans expect Hamilton to make a return to the grid in the 2022 F1 season. Tell us your thoughts on the same. Do you think he can win his record eighth title next year?