Lewis Hamilton: Sebastian Vettel return to F1 would be ‘amazing option’ for Mercedes for 2025

Lewis Hamilton welcomes the idea of Sebastian Vettel returning to F1 and succeeding him at Mercedes when he leaves for Ferrari; Hamilton also outlines the kind of driver he’d like to see take his place; watch the Japanese GP on Sky Sports F1 with the race at 6am on Sunday

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Sebastian Vettel shares how life has changed since his retirement from Formula 1 and discusses his thoughts on all the paddock news so far this season, including Lewis Hamilton’s decision to sign for Ferrari in 2025.

Lewis Hamilton says he “would love” for Sebastian Vettel to return to Formula 1 and has described the four-time champion as an “amazing option” to succeed him at Mercedes.

Hamilton, who has signed with Ferrari from 2025, also said he would like to see Mercedes replace him with “someone with integrity and values that are aligned with the team and where the team is going”.

Vettel retired from F1 at the end of 2022 but, having never absolutely closed the door to a future return, told Sky Sports on Wednesday that he was thinking about the possibility of a comeback and that he was “staying in touch” with team principals including Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

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“I would love for Seb to come back,” said Hamilton ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

“He would be an amazing option for the team.

“A German driver, a multi-world championship-winning driver and someone who has got amazing values and continues to take this team forward.

“I’d love it if he came back.”

Hamilton: Some drivers ‘more selfish than others’

The seven-time champion was then asked if he had given any consideration to who Mercedes ultimately signed and whether he would prefer to be succeeded by an experienced driver like Vettel or Max Verstappen – who Wolff has gone on record to state would be his number-one target were the Red Bull driver to become available – or a rookie.

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After initially suggesting he was giving the matter “generally zero” thought, Hamilton then elaborated by stating: “I think the only thing I really care about is that the team takes on someone with integrity and values that are aligned with the team and where the team is going.

“Someone with compassion to work with all these great people and continue to lift them up.

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As we head into this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, David Croft discusses Sebastian Vettel’s hint that he would love to return to Formula 1 for a ‘one-off’ race at Suzuka Circuit.

“There are so many great people in this team and as drivers there are some that are more selfish than others, there are some that are good drivers but perhaps not the best within team environments. I don’t know because I’ve not been in with all of them, but I hope they find someone great.

“They’ve already got George [Russell] and he’s perfect for the team so finding a good match alongside him. They’ve got so many options.”

Experienced names linked with the seat also include the in-form Carlos Sainz, who Hamilton is replacing at Ferrari, and Williams’ Alex Albon.

Mercedes also have the in-house option of promoting 17-year-old protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is currently competing in his maiden season of Formula 2.

And Hamilton, who came through McLaren’s junior ranks as a highly-rated young star to F1 almost two decades ago, added: “I do think it’s always great to give an opportunity to up-and-coming drivers so the idea of a youngster coming in for me is exciting.”

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Sebastian Vettel reveals he is considering a return to F1 and remains in contact with a number of team principals including Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

Russell himself said he would welcome Vettel, or anyone else, in the seat next to him.

“Sebastian’s a great person and he’s a four-time world champion and for sure his personality is missed on the grid and I think it’s important that we have the best 20 drivers in the world all competing for race wins and championships,” said Russell, whose Mercedes deal runs to the end of 2025.

“So, as I said before, I’m really happy and open to having anybody as my team-mate, you know, whether it’s world champion, whether it’s a rookie, it doesn’t change how I go about my business. And yeah, as I said, we’ll welcome anybody.”

“Anything can happen in this sport so we have just got to learn as much as we can, take as much as we can from the data, remain positive, continue to work hard.

“I always say it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up, so we’re going to continue to chase and fight and hope that we can be fighting at the front at some stage.”

With the team having acknowledged that the W15 performance on track through faster corners is not mirroring more promising results seen on their simulator, Hamilton says the team “are experimenting with everything” on set-up and approach in order to try and unlock more consistent performance.

“I definitely do feel more optimistic about this car,” insisted Hamilton.

“Obviously the first couple of races there has been small showings of the car feeling great and we would have had pace for a moment and then it kind of disappears.

“There is definitely performance there we just need to work on making this car more consistent and easier to drive.”

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Lewis Hamilton reports an engine failure and retires from a chaotic Australian Grand Prix!

Suzuka, which features some of the calendar’s fastest and most flowing sequences of corners, proved one of Mercedes’ weakest tracks last year with Hamilton finishing fifth, 50s behind race winner Max Verstappen.

Asked if he would have the required confidence in the W15 this weekend to be in harmony with the figure-of-eight track, Hamilton said: “The last three races are anything to show for it, unlikely, but we are working towards it. So if it happens that’ll be amazing.

“But, either way, just driving this track is such an incredible experience for us drivers. Its the track that you always dream of getting to drive when you’re younger.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Japanese GP schedule

Friday April 5
3am: Japanese GP Practice One (session starts at 3.30am)*
6.45am: Japanese GP Practice Two (session starts at 7am)*

8.15am: The F1 Show*
10am: Japanese GP Practice One replay
11.30am: Japanese GP Practice Two replay

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Look back on some of the most exciting title deciders to take place at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Saturday April 6
3.15am: Japanese GP Practice Three (session starts at 3.30am)*
6am: Japanese GP Qualifying build-up*
7am: Japanese GP Qualifying*
9am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese GP Qualifying replay

Sunday April 7
5am: Grand Prix Sunday Japanese GP build-up*
8am: Chequered Flag: Japanese GP reaction*
9am: Ted’s Notebook*
9.30am: Japanese Grand Prix highlights*
10.30am: Japanese Grand Prix replay

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

Formula 1’s biggest ever season continues with the Japanese Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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