Formula 1: Hamilton stands up for teenager Antonelli

Formula 1: Hamilton stands up for teenager Antonelli

Who will succeed Hamilton at Mercedes? The Formula 1 record champion considers the Italian teenager Antonelli to be suitable. Its tests left an impression.

Formula 1 record world champion Lewis Hamilton can easily imagine teenager Andrea Kimi Antonelli as his successor at Mercedes. The Englishman admitted on the sidelines of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in Imola that he didn’t know what team boss Toto Wolff’s plans were. “But if it were my job, if it were my role, then I would probably take Kimi.”

Hamilton is leaving Mercedes at the end of this season and will drive for Ferrari in the future. Wolff has not yet made a decision about his successor. The dream driver alongside George Russell would be world champion Max Verstappen from Red Bull.

Wolff on Antonelli: “He can do it”

“Maybe he’s drawing parallels to his time when he got his chance at McLaren,” said Wolff about Hamilton’s statement on Sky TV. McLaren helped Hamilton, now a seven-time world champion, make his Formula 1 debut in 2007.

Wolff praised Antonelli. The 17-year-old skipped Formula 3 and is currently racing in Formula 2. The Italian from Mercedes’ offspring has also tested old Silver Arrows. “He’s done very well so far, even if it’s a huge leap into the deep end,” said Wolff. “We saw in the tests: He can do it. With the good guys you can see that they don’t need long to get up to speed.”

As if Antonelli had been sitting in a Formula 1 car “forever”.

Mercedes technical director James Allison really raved about Antonelli. “I had the pleasure of listening to the engineers describe the interaction with him. He is a young, enthusiastic driver who is very fast and has a pace like a metronome,” explained Allison. Antonelli was able to deliver lap times exactly as previously discussed.

“He hadn’t been in a Formula 1 car until recently, but within a lap or two it looked like he had been in one for ages,” Allison said of recent testing with Antonelli. “He tells us exactly what he perceives to be weaknesses and strengths and lets the engineers work to improve those things.” Antonelli seems to be a “very promising young driver”.

Source: Stern

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