For the second week in a row we can say that it is race week. This time it will also be in Bahrain, as last time, however, the difference is that now the external layout of the circuit will be used. The drivers' championship is already won, Lewis Hamilton was proclaimed seven-time world champion a few races ago, while second and third places are being fought by his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, and the Dutch Red Bull driver, Max Verstappen. Further down and for fourth place is a close fight between Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, both McLaren drivers, Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc. The drivers’ championship may not be at stake anymore, however, a seat on a highly prestigious team has just been opened for, at least this week, for a reserve driver or another driver from another team. We are talking about Lewis Hamilton's seat on the Mercedes team. This is probably the most coveted seat in motorsport's top category and, as of yet, it is not yet known who will be in charge of driving the British driver's car.
First of all, we have to remember that Lewis Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 and this announcement was made public on the morning of the first day of December. Being a new circuit, Lewis Hamilton may have been even more displeased to know that he will not participate in the Sakhir Grand Prix, however, he acted correctly and published - through his social networks - that the most important thing is to follow the hygiene and safety protocols for him and everyone around him. It is worth noting that, from MotorLat, we send a lot of strength and health to Lewis Hamilton and we wish him a speedy recovery. This news caused one of the seats most likely to win a race to open, namely Lewis's Mercedes W11. Each team has some reserve drivers, and it is on these occasions that they come into action, however, Mercedes has many options, who will be in charge of driving?
As the first candidate is Stoffel Vandoorne. His beginnings in Formula 1 date back to 2016 when he was a test driver for McLaren, in addition to driving a full race for the British team. The Belgian driver drove for the same team in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, however he failed to achieve the promised results after finishing P16 in the drivers' championship in both seasons. Subsequently, Stoffel competed for HWA RACELAB Formula E team in the 2018/2019 season, in addition to participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP1 category, finishing in third place. During the 2019/2020 Formula E season, Vandoorne drove for the Mercedes-Benz EQ team, achieving fabulous results. So far, Stoffel is the reserve driver for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, so he plays a great role within the German team.
Another candidate is Esteban Gutiérrez. The Mexican driver first drove as a Formula 1 driver in 2013 and 2014 for Sauber, however those were not seasons to remember in terms of results. In 2015, Gutiérrez worked as a test and reserve driver for Ferrari, a year later, the Mexican would return to Formula 1, this time at the hands of Haas. In 2017 he drove for Techeetah in Formula E. Currently; Esteban serves as a reserve driver for the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team and as a simulator and developmental driver for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
George Russell has also been added to the entry list for Lewis' seat. Recall that Russell currently drives for Williams Formula 1 Team, however he is also part of the Mercedes academy. George would be willing to compete for the Germans, although Williams needs to confirm and agree to this decision. Many people have commented that this is highly unlikely to happen as George has been their strongest driver in recent years and the Sakhir Grand Prix is a very good chance for Williams to score. Without George behind the wheel, who knows his car excellent well, it would be very difficult for anyone else to score for them, so George is unlikely to drive for Mercedes.
Obviously, Nico Hulkbenberg should not be missing from the list of possible candidates, however, this option is almost ruled out since the German driver, who has replaced Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll in different races, published a story on his official account of Instagram in which it says “By the way, not in a plane”. The opportunity is so good that it has been presented with a bang that some other drivers have decided to do something about it, here we present you the tweet from Louis Delétraz, who is the reserve driver of the Haas team and currently drives in Formula 2 for the Charouz Racing team .
I personally think that the man in charge of driving Lewis Hamilton's W11 will be Stoffel Vandoorne. Not only because he is the reserve driver for Mercedes, while Esteban Gutiérrez is its test and development driver, but he has also given some "clues" of what can be announced in the next hours or days. For example, he has uploaded a photo on his official Instagram account in which he has the caption “Good test in Valencia! Better get going, got a flight to Bahrain to catch. Sorry can’t give you any more news at the moment, let’s wait and see what happens!”. Recall that the Formula E preseason tests were carried out in Valencia, Spain this week, however, these have come to an end, which makes the Belgian driver available this weekend to take the seat of Lewis Hamilton. It will be a matter of time to see what Mercedes decides, however, some drivers are more likely than others to replace the British.
Ver esta publicación en Instagram