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The news that Lewis Hamilton is positive on COVID-19 and that he will have to miss the Sakhir GP left no one without comment and sparked a debate over who should replace him for the upcoming race. While there are a very large number of candidates who want to sit in the currently most desirable car in the world, only a few have a very high chance of getting that spot, even though 2020 has taught us that we should expect the unexpected.
The current test driver of Mercedes and a competitor for Mercedes in Formula E is definitely vying for a place on the grid this weekend, given that his last appearance in F1 was in Abu Dhabi in 2018 behind the wheel of a McLaren in which he did not become overly famous during 2 seasons he was convincingly defeated by teammate Fernando Alonso, to put it mildly. Precisely this and the fact that he has not been active in Formula 2 for 1 years despite occasional tests for Mercedes do not give me hope that he could bring a satisfactory result if Mercedes decides for him, but it may surprise us, and Bottas on the other side of the garage is quite an easier challenge than Alonso or Hamilton.
The young hope of British motorsport and the current Williams driver is also looking with great desire towards a vacant seat in the Mercedes. While the fact that he is currently a Williams driver makes it a little difficult to fulfill his wish, Toto Wolff as his “patron” will have no problem negotiating Russell’s temporary transfer with Williams ’bosses. The only problem in my opinion is that this move could be too much for him considering where Williams is and where Mercedes is, and in some situations when he could win points he reacted amateurishly and spilled potential points, such as in Imola this year. Yes, he has not lost in qualifying against any of his teammates in the qualifiers, and he was convincing against them in the races, but his teammates were Kubica and Latifi, who are not the best measure of quality, with due respect.
An experienced and quality driver who in my opinion, and in the opinion of many, is currently the best choice to replace Lewis Hamilton. Although he has not had a permanent place on the grid since the end of 2019, he has already appeared 3 times this season as a replacement for Racing Point drivers and left a great impression in a car with which he did not have excessive contact, thus proving to be an extremely adaptable driver. Also, precisely because of the races for Racing Point, whose car shares a lot of similarities with last year's Mercedes car, which will make it a little easier for him to adapt to the Mercedes car. Also, he would finally get a concrete chance to win the podium as the Mercedes W11 is miles ahead of all the cars.
Stoffel’s team-mate in Formula E is also mentioned as one of the candidates for the driver’s seat at Mercedes, though not as one of the stronger candidates. Last year's Formula 2 champion showed talent in Formula E this season, but it seems a bit unbelievable and too ambitious to jump from a Formula E car to a Formula 1 car, without any experience with an F1 car.
The Renault driver also aspires to a place in Mercedes in some combinations due to managerial connections with Toto Wolff, and he has already shown in some situations how strong this connection is. The problem is that he didn't really show up this season, although luck didn't bother him too much.
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