Formula 1: New driver emerging as possible Lewis Hamilton replacement?

George Russell, Mercedes, Alex Albon, Williams, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
George Russell, Mercedes, Alex Albon, Williams, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /

Alex Albon has made big strides with Williams during the 2023 Formula 1 season, and that trajectory could very well place him at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in 2026.

Though it was recently announced by Mercedes that both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be their drivers through the 2025 Formula 1 season, this announcement could very well be the pathway for Alex Albon’s advancement into a big-time seat with the Brackley-based team.

This, of course, is contingent on Hamilton either retiring or leaving the team at the end of the 2025 season.

Albon is currently competing for Williams on a multi-year deal he signed towards the end of 2022. So he is likely under contract through at least the 2024 season. But there are a number of indicators that the 27-year-old will end up with the Silver Arrows as Hamilton’s replacement a few years from now.

One is the close relationship that Mercedes have with Williams. Over the last decade, Mercedes have supplied Williams with key parts to their cars. Going the other way, we have seen Valtteri Bottas and George Russell make the switch from Williams to Mercedes, and both have done very well.

Additionally, at the end of last season, Mercedes strategy director James Vowles joined Williams as their new team principal. These two teams have formed a great partnership that has only gotten stronger as time has gone on.

Alex Albon still needs to show some more consistency before being considered for one of the top seats in Formula 1, but he has time on his side.

The Thai-British driver has already made great strides this season, positioning Williams for a potential P7 finish in the constructor standings, which would be their highest since 2017, and he is looking to do even better in 2024.

If he is able to maintain a high level of consistency and bring Williams back into the mid-field battle, then there is no reason why the ex-Red Bull driver should not find himself back with a top team.

Another detail to make note of is Albon’s close friendship with Russell. The pre-existing chemistry between the pair could translate well on the race track, and surely Mercedes could take that into consideration. With that, Russell could also do some friendly convincing on his own in an attempt to get Albon to become his teammate.

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Albon has done well and improved massively since being dropped by Red Bull after the 2020 season. His current trajectory has him in line for another seat with one of the top teams, and that team could very well be Mercedes in 2026.