What Happens if Lewis Hamilton Leaves F1 After 2021? Speculating Possible Scenarios

Published 04/04/2021, 5:11 AM EDT
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 12: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain during Day One of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 12, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)


While all eyes will be on the 2021 F1 season, which is shaping up to be a juicy prospect, the next campaign could be an even bigger event. Undoubtedly, in the lead up to the 2022 season, all eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time world champion has only signed on with Mercedes until the end of this year; no one knows what his plans beyond the current campaign are.

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But let us hypothetically assume that Lewis wins his record eighth title and decides to call it a day. What will unfold in F1 2022 then?

Surprisingly little turmoil in the driver market

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This would be the most immediate effect when Hamilton makes his statement of resignation. Mercedes would have to think about two things. Firstly, whom they appoint as Hamilton’s successor and secondly, if they want to retain Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

They have two golden options in Max Verstappen and George Russell. But it’s likely that the Silver Arrows would go with the latter while opting to partner him with Bottas for another year, just for the sake of some security.

They’d obviously love to bring on Verstappen, but expect the Red Bull driver to want to give one more shot at the title with the Milton Keynes-based team. And it would certainly be in the realms of possibility. Red Bull have already caught up with Mercedes this season, and with the new aero rules coming in for 2022, Max would see it as a chance to bring glory to himself and the Austrian team.

This would mean Williams would need a driver to replace Russell. Now bear in mind, that this is with all other things remaining constant, Williams pick up Alex Albon, who ditches his Red Bull connection in order to get back on the grid.

Who goes on to be the next F1 icon after Lewis Hamilton?

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The new generation of F1 talent certainly is impressive. Apart from the likes of Verstappen and Russell, there will also be Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, and perhaps even Yuki Tsunoda in the running to take up the mantle.

Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates second place on the podium with the trophy Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

However, at this point in time, it’s hard to envision anybody other than Max becoming the new face of F1. The Dutchman already has a very impressive body of work behind him and is in a league of his own as a driver. So don’t be too surprised to see the Red Bull ace dominate the next decade of the sport.

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Ronan Carvalho

987 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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