Esteban Ocon tipped to replace Lewis Hamilton amid Mercedes connection

Esteban Ocon tipped to replace Lewis Hamilton amid Mercedes connection

Mercedes could replace Lewis Hamilton with Esteban Ocon when the seven-time world champion decides to retire from Formula 1, with the team retaining a link with the Frenchman. Ocon was originally a junior driver at Silver Arrows and his two major F1 moves were brokered by team boss Toto Wolff, with the German guiding him early in his career.

Ocon has enjoyed a strong Formula 1 career so far, with the 26-year-old collecting 338 points in 105 race starts, representing Manor Racing in 2016, Force India and Racing Point between 2017 and 2018 before joining Renault (now Alpine) in 2020. The highlight of his career undoubtedly came at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix where he took a shock victory despite being in a midfield car.

Much of his career has been closely tied to Wolff and Mercedes being part of their young driver academy. He even spent a year as a test and reserve driver for the Brackley-based team in 2019 as he took a year off from the sport after being dropped for Lance Stroll at Racing Point. The German has had a say in most of his career moves, helping him stay in the sport despite some setbacks.

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However, the French driver could face some difficulties if he wants to replace Hamilton, if the Briton decides to retire at the end of his contract next year. Ocon’s contract does not expire until the following year, which means Mercedes could consider cheaper free agents rather than buying him from Alpine.

Speculation over Hamilton’s replacement will only intensify over the next 12 months if the 37-year-old does not extend his current contract with Mercedes. Ocon’s connections should give him a good opportunity to be the man to do it, but there are still many obstacles in his way.

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