Ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher has said that his nephew Mick Schumacher could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2024, if George Russell beats the seven-time World Champion once again.
In his first season at the Silver Arrows, Russell became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to finish above him in the Drivers’ Championship, a feat that has previously only been achieved by Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.
2022 wasn’t a good season for the 37-year-old, who for the first time in his F1 career failed to claim a victory or a podium, much to the shock of the paddock.
Should the same occur in 2023, then, Ralf has predicted that Hamilton might question if he wants to continue, but that Hamilton ultimately “decides for himself”.
“Something could happen at Mercedes,” Ralf told Sport1.
“Let’s say George Russell is faster than Lewis Hamilton again. Does he even want to continue?
“It’s going to be exciting. But Lewis has so much credit at Mercedes that he decides for himself. In any case, the money will not matter to him. He has more than enough of that.
“The decisive factor will be who suits the new car better.”
The team dynamic between Russell and Hamilton will be intriguing in 2023, especially if Mercedes have a car which can challenge for the title.
The brother of Michael Schumacher is a big fan of Russell, who he describes as “mega” and as having performed even better than Rosberg did in 2016 against Hamilton.
“It’s important to remember that as a young driver he joined Lewis as a teammate, who was top dog in every respect,” said Schumacher.
“Nevertheless, he beat him. That gnaws at Lewis. Under these circumstances, George’s performance is even higher for me than that of Nico Rosberg in 2016.”
Should Hamilton shock the world and call it a day at the end of 2023, then it could open a full-time spot for Mercedes’ new reserve driver.
Mick’s move to the Brackley-based outfit comes after the German was sacked by Haas, leaving him without a seat.
Working for Mercedes is a “great opportunity” states his uncle, who predicts that Mick’s services are a “win-win” for the team and the 23-year-old.
“This is a great opportunity for Mick,” added the former F1 driver.
“He can look over the shoulder of a top team at work and learn a lot.
“And he is not only a development driver, where he can certainly help Mercedes in the simulator to return to the top; as a reserve driver, he has to replace a regular driver if he drops out. We have had this situation more often in the last three years.
“Lewis Hamilton is still an absolute top driver, but he is no longer the youngest. The ravages of time are gnawing away. So you never know. I think it’s a win-win situation for the team and Mick.
“Of course, another season with a fixed cockpit would have been better in principle, because driving is still the best thing for further development. On the other hand, he lacked the necessary support at Haas, so it would have been very difficult for him. If a team boss does not believe in a driver, you should part.
“From a purely sporting point of view, Mick’s curve was clearly pointing upwards. That’s why you don’t necessarily have to understand Haas’ decision. However, under these circumstances, it was the optimal solution for Mick.”