With Sir Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes F1 Team reportedly struggling to agree terms of a new deal, Scott Mitchell, a journalist at The-Race.com, has suggested that Max Verstappen would be the Silver Arrows’ first choice to replace the seven-time World Champion.
“He’s one of the other key drivers defining the driver market. I’m sure he’s looking at the situation with interest,” Mitchell said this week.
“And when you’re in the situation Mercedes is in and you’re not sure if Hamilton wants to commit, Verstappen is the driver you want on board at the earliest opportunity,” the British journalist added.
Max Verstappen’s existing Red Bull deal will expire at the end of 2023, but his contract reportedly contains an exit clause which could allow him to leave the team after the 2021 F1 season under certain circumstances.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff previously ruled out running Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton as team-mates, as he believes such a driver line-up would create an “unnecessary Star Wars” in the team.
“Max is not an option for Mercedes,” Wolff said in an interview with Austria’s ORF broadcaster.
“We will never understand exactly what happened in the relationship between Nico and Lewis at the time.
“It goes back a long time, precisely to their karting days and junior classes. We have seen how their friendship turned into rivalry and then hostility.
“That dynamic between them was very difficult to understand. It started when I joined the team in 2013 and it got worse and worse from there. It was a very difficult situation to deal with.
“During team meetings there was a very negative energy in the air. At some point it was no longer acceptable and we talked about it. But the hostility among the drivers remained,” Wolff added.
However, Wolff hasn’t suggested he would be opposed to running Verstappen alongside Valtteri Bottas or George Russell.