Barretto sees Hamilton’s departure as a blessing for Russell: ‘Mercedes should not do that anymore’

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Barretto sees Hamilton's departure as a blessing for Russell: 'Mercedes should not do that anymore'

2024 will be the end of an era at Mercedes. The Silver Arrows will say goodbye to Lewis Hamilton at the end of next season, who won six world titles with the team from Brackley, and will have to look for a replacement for 2025. But first of all, another question arises: what does Hamilton’s announced departure mean for his teammate George Russell? Formula 1 journalist Lawrence Barretto gives his view on the issue in the F1 Nation Podcast.

As long as Hamilton remained on board at Mercedes, Russell would have to leave the role of first driver to his teammate. The 25-year-old Briton simply could not compete with Hamilton’s record, experience, but of course also the skills. But now that the decision has been made regarding the transfer of the seven-time world champion to Ferrari, the hierarchy at the German racing team could look completely different before 2024 than it did over the past two seasons. Will Hamilton receive preferential treatment over his teammate next season, or will team boss Toto Wolff already fully support Russell?

Barretto answers that question by looking back to the 2023 championship. ‘Last season it was too close for comfort between Hamilton and Russell several times. At Mercedes they still had to ensure that they were fair to both drivers, but that is no longer necessary. I am convinced that they will 100% choose Russell. After all, he is their future. It is also the ideal opportunity for him to show the world that he can usher in a new era with the team.’

Who will be Hamilton’s replacement?

Will it be Carlos Sainz or Alexander Albon? Or will Fernando Alonso get one last chance with a top team? The names of potential replacements for Hamilton flew around during the special edition of the F1 Nation Podcast, where there was a lot of speculation about the future of Mercedes and team boss Toto Wolff, who will soon face an important choice. ‘Toto knows what he’s doing. After all, he has a track record of making the right decisions,” said Barretto, who then discussed Russell’s involvement in that process. “Russell will have no say. Toto doesn’t need his approval at all. It would also be beneficial for George for his team boss to hire someone who can give him a fight. Every driver needs that to take themselves to the next level.’

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