Hamilton set to announce Mercedes move.

28 Sep

Today (Friday the 28th of September) Lewis Hamilton is expected to announce that he is leaving McLaren and will instead will be driving for Mercedes next year. After 5 season with the team in F1 and many more years being supported by the team in lower racing categories it will be an emotional farewell when Lewis drives his final race for the team in Brazil this year.

In this post I won’t be looking at the reasons behind the deal (my opinions on them can be seen here), instead I will be looking at which drivers could replace Hamilton and who will he replace.

Who will Mercedes drop?

  • Mercedes have one of two options for who will make way for Hamilton, they can drop either Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Schumacher is the obvious choice, there are many people who feel that Schumacher should leave sooner rather than later and in recent races there has been evidence that his powers are waining, most recently running into the back of Vergne in Singapore. If Schumacher is dropped by Mercedes I’d expect him to retire for good. But Mercedes may want to keep Schumacher as he’s a more attractive target for sponsors, and if this is the case the team may decide to drop Nico Rosberg, winner of the 2012 Chinese GP. This would be in my opinion the wrong decision as Rosberg has a lot of potential and Lewis will find it easier to get on with Rosberg than Schumacher (who he has had some disputes with in recent years). If Rosberg does leave I’d expect him to be quickly signed up by another team, maybe replacing Bruno Senna at Williams.

Who could replace Hamilton?

  • Sergio Perez will be touted as the favourite to replace Hamilton, Perez is a fantastic driver: light on his tyres, fast and able to overtake and in the longterm he could have the potential to be better than Hamilton, but there may be resentment to sign him in that the Mexican is part of the Ferrari young drivers program and McLaren may be worried that Ferrari would poach Perez off the team after only a couple of years. If I was Martin Whitmarsh I would sign Perez.
  • Paul Di Resta will also be a likely target and with him being British he’d look ideal to replace Hamilton, especially after last weekend’s performance in Singapore. Di Resta would supply them with a solid driver who probably wouldn’t challenge for next years championship but would give them points and be a possibility in the future.
  • Nico Hulkenburg has been on many team’s radars and is expected to move to a bigger team in the not to distant future, he’s quick, competitive and when he’s having a good day he’s one of the best drivers out there, qualifying 4th in Valencia and finishing 4th at Spa. Nico will be looking to put in another strong performance in the Brazilian GP this year where on his previous outing he took pole. I think Nico is 3rd favourite.
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