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Schumacher tips Sainz as likely Hamilton heir

Schumacher tips Sainz as likely Hamilton heir
© Reuters
Carlos Sainz is progressively being seen as the preferred choice to take over Lewis Hamilton's seat at Mercedes next year.

Carlos Sainz is progressively being seen as the preferred choice to take over Lewis Hamilton's seat at Mercedes next year.

It is well-known now that Williams is moving towards ousting Logan Sargeant, potentially before the end of the 2024 season. "I just want someone next to me who is fast," Alex Albon, the continuing Williams driver, openly stated.

"Someone who can teach me something and make the team even better," he added.

While Sainz was initially pegged as the top candidate for that seat following his looming Ferrari departure, he is said to have possibly stretched the patience of Williams' head, James Vowles, which might tip the scales in favour of Valtteri Bottas returning to Grove in 2025.

"I have my priorities and I know exactly where I would like to drive," Bottas expressed.

"I can't share anything yet, but for me it is quite clear what I want."

Sainz's decision is highly anticipated as he remains the top name yet to settle his future in the sport, with Alpine also emerging as a clear option for the Spaniard. Toto Wolff, meanwhile, has indicated a renewed openness to considering Sainz for a spot at Mercedes, albeit the timing could be months away.

"The situation is getting more complicated for Carlos Sainz," Ralf Schumacher explained on Sky Deutschland. "Everyone thought he would go to Williams, but that no longer seems to be the case. The door is now open for him at Alpine, but he still sees a chance at Mercedes, because Toto Wolff has indicated that the situation has changed again," he continued.

Daniele Sparisci of Corriere della Sera noted, "Wolff has reopened the door for Sainz, given that Max (Verstappen) will most likely stay at Red Bull next year, and a competitive Mercedes could 'burn' the very young (Kimi) Antonelli."

Schumacher also speculated, "I see Sainz as the most likely option to be (George) Russell's teammate in 2025."

Sergio Perez remains a possible late addition to the driver market, despite a recent extension of his contract with Red Bull, which might be nullified by a performance clause whose details are now spilling into the public.

Red Bull is preparing to promote Liam Lawson to the junior team RB, potentially causing Daniel Ricciardo to either advance to Red Bull Racing or exit Formula 1.

Christian Horner has not dismissed the possibility of Yuki Tsunoda moving up, clarifying that the Japanese driver's agreement is directly with Red Bull Racing, not just the junior team. "He's a Red Bull driver with a contract with Red Bull," Horner confirmed to the Dutch publication Formule 1.

Lawson is also considered an outside candidate to replace Perez as he gears up for a test run of the 2024 Red Bull Racing car at Silverstone. "I'll actually be driving the (2012) RB8 at Silverstone on Thursday too," Horner joked, "so you never know."

"In all seriousness, Liam's aero test has been planned for a couple of months," he concluded.

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Toto Wolff at the United States GP on October 20, 2023
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