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Growing List of F1 Candidates Line Up to Replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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List of F1 Candidates Line Up to Replace HamiltonANDREJ ISAKOVIC - Getty Images


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Several top drivers—and at least one young wildcard—are clearly at the top of the shortlist to succeed Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year.

Team principal Toto Wolff's obvious top pick is Formula 1's ultra-dominant Max Verstappen, especially amid the internal conflict and power struggle playing out at Red Bull at present. European outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport says the turmoil might not only cost Red Bull its three-time world champion, but also its top engineers Adrian Newey and Pierre Wache.

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On the driver front, however, Wolff says he would do "handstands" if Mercedes could convince Verstappen to make the switch. Red Bull's Horner doubts that Verstappen could be wooed by Mercedes.

"I'm sure all the teams want Max, but Toto also says that the best drivers want the best cars," Horner said.

However, the unrest at Red Bull is far from over.

"I don't think Horner will survive it," former F1 driver and current pundit Ralf Schumacher to outlet formel1.de. "He hasn't been able to clarify things. He only talks about it at the legal level, but it can't be in Horner's spirit that such a successful team will fall apart because of one person."

As for the prospect of losing Verstappen, Schumacher added: "I think he could go through with it, but not this season. Next year."