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Mercedes in 'no hurry' to find Lewis Hamilton replacement for 2025 F1 season says Toto Wolff

Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari to replace Carlos Sainz next year leaves a seat at Mercedes up for grabs; watch Saudi Arabian GP Practice from Thursday, qualifying on Friday and the Grand Prix itself on Saturday, plus the new F1 Academy season - all live on Sky Sports F1

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Toto Wolff says Kimi Antonelli will be successful in F1 but will wait to see if he will be Lewis Hamilton's replacement at Mercedes in 2025

Toto Wolff claims Mercedes are in "no hurry" to replace Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 Formula 1 season.

Hamilton will leave Mercedes after 12 seasons at the end of this year for Ferrari, so the seat alongside George Russell is up for grabs.

Over half of the grid are out of contract following this season including Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

Wolff has previously stated Mercedes may try something "bold" with many interpreting that to be a hint towards looking at teenager Kimi Antonelli, who is currently driving in Formula 2 and is highly-rated by the paddock.

Antonelli had a tough start to his F2 career after finishing 14th and 10th in the two Bahrain races but beat Prema team-mate Oliver Bearman.

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During the brand new season six of Netflix's Drive to Survive, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton hold discussions over the Brit's future with the team

"A championship-winning team 17th and 18th, in F2, that's not at all where they should be," said Wolff, referring to Antonelli and Prema's qualifying positions in Sakhir.

"I think you can look at him against the team-mate, that is one of the comparisons, and I think Oliver Bearman is a top driver. But I think, like I always said, I'm almost guilty of talking too much. We will see how the next few races pan out.

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"I'm in no hurry for us to take a decision on drivers. I've been rushed in a hurry by Lewis. So, this time around I'm going to take it easy and evaluate the market."

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Ted Kravitz is in the paddock to review all the biggest stories from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Is Verstappen to Mercedes a possibility?

The driver any team would want in their car is Max Verstappen but he's contracted to stay at Red Bull until the end of 2028.

However, Verstappen's father, Jos Verstappen, says Red Bull are in danger of being "torn apart" if Christian Horner remains at the team, following an investigation which dismissed allegations of inappropriate behaviour against the Red Bull team principal. Horner denied the allegations throughout the process.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has asked Max Verstappen to publicly endorse Horner. It's understood the FIA will not comment on the matter as it was a private conversation.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff describes Max Verstappen's performance as being in 'another galaxy' and that Mercedes couldn't materialise the performance of the car in Bahrain

Wolff, who was pictured talking to Jos Verstappen after the Bahrain Grand Prix, was asked if there was any chance Max Verstappen could drive for Mercedes next year.

He said: "I think the driver will always choose the quickest car. That is fundamentally what it's all about. At the moment, the Red Bull is the quickest car so that will always be in my opinion the priority."

Sky Sports F1's Saudi Arabian GP schedule

Wednesday March 6

  • 2.30pm: Drivers' Press Conference

Thursday March 7

  • 9.50am: F2 Practice
  • 10.50am: F1 Academy Practice
  • 1pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice One (session starts at 1.30pm)
  • 2.55pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 4.45pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice Two (session starts at 5pm)
  • 6.15pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
  • 7.15pm: The F1 Show

Friday March 8

  • 11.55am: F1 Academy Race 1
  • 1.10pm: Saudi Arabian GP Practice Three (session starts at 1.30pm)
  • 3.05pm: F2 Sprint Race
  • 4.10pm: Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying build-up

Saturday March 9

  • 12pm: F1 Academy Race 2
  • 1.20pm: F2 Feature Race
  • 3.30pm: Saudi Arabian GP build-up: Grand Prix Saturday
  • 7pm: Saudi Arabian GP reaction: Chequered flag
  • 9.30pm: Saudi Arabian GP highlights

Watch the second round of the new F1 season - the Saudi Arabian GP - live on Sky Sports F1 this coming week, with practice on Thursday, qualifying on Friday and the race at 5pm on Saturday. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime

Anthony Joshua's heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou takes place on Friday March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office with the main event expected around 11pm. Book Joshua vs Ngannou now!

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