‘I’d love it if he came back’: Hamilton backs Vettel to take his seat at Mercedes

Deir Lewis Hamilton ‘gur mhaith leis go dtiocfadh Seb ar ais’ agus a shuíochán a líonadh ag deireadh an tséasúir.</span>Photo: Florent Gooden/DPPI/Shutterstock</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/BzNLp.jjgbl3NxBsQLZL9Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/6a7f2093c497ed1a4844e35a7681ffcd” data- src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/BzNLp.jjgbl3NxBsQLZL9Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/6a7f2093c497ed1a4844e35a7681ffcd”/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Lewis Hamilton says he would love for Seb to come back and fill his seat at the end of the season.Photo: Florent Gooden/DPPI/Shutterstock

Lewis Hamilton has backed Sebastian Vettel to return to Formula One by stepping in for Mercedes when the British driver moves to Ferrari at the end of this season.

Vettel, the four-time world champion who retires at the end of 2022, has already revealed he has been in talks with teams, including Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton backed Vettel to make a comeback with Mercedes.

“I would love Seb to come back and I think he would be a great option for the team,” he said. “A German driver, a driver who won multiple world championships, and someone with great values ​​who would continue to take the team forward. I would love for him to come back.”

Related: Sebastian Vettel hints at an F1 comeback after revealing talks with Toto Wolff

Asked if he would have any input into Mercedes’ decision, Hamilton laughed and admitted he would have “zero”. However, he hoped the team would pursue a driver who would be in line with the ideals the seven-time champion made central to his time with Mercedes, including the pursuit of diversity and inclusiveness. within the team.

“The one thing I really care about is that the team hires someone who is honest and aligned with the team and where the team is going,” he said. “A caring person who can work with great people and continues to build them up. There are so many great people in this team.”

Vettel is among the options currently being considered by the team, including an attempt to lure world champion Max Verstappen from Red Bull, consideration of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz and their own promising junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Earlier this week Vettel, who won his four championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, completed six years at Ferrari and two at Aston Martin, confirmed he was considering a return to F1.

“I’m talking to Toto. I don’t know if that qualifies as a Mercedes, but about other things,” he said. “I’m talking to a lot of people because I know them, but no [about anything] very specific. I mean of course [a potential return] it crosses my mind, I think about it, but it’s not the main thought.

“I spoke to a lot of other team principals too, and not just about racing. There are ideas, but nothing concrete at the moment.”

The German has also recently tested the Porsche 963 sports car currently competing in the World Endurance Championship and Vettel could be considering driving them at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Hamilton’s teammate George Russell also said he would welcome Vettel to drive alongside him. “Sebastian is a great person and he is a four-time world champion and his personality is lost on the grid,” he said. “It’s important that we all have the top 20 drivers in the world competing for race wins and championships. So I’m very happy and open to anyone to be my teammate.”

Also in Japan, Russell argued that Alonso went a step too far in the high-speed crash the British driver suffered at last month’s Australian Grand Prix, which left him stuck in his stricken car, lying on its side in mid track in Melbourne. Russell claimed that the FIA ​​was absolutely right to penalize the Spanish driver.

Russell was chasing Alonso in the closing stages of the race when the Spaniard slowed, then accelerated again on the approaching turn. Speaking in Japan, Russell admitted that he was adjusting the setting of his steering wheel at the time, as he did not expect Alonso to slow down straight away, and when he looked up he was almost on top of it. He was forced to accelerate at 150mph, hit the wall and bounce back into the middle of the race, causing him to call for the race to be stopped in case he was hit by another car.

“Each driver can change their line, brake earlier, power through the corner, do whatever,” he said. “When we start braking in the middle of a straight, downshifting, accelerating, upshifting again, then braking again for a corner, I think that goes beyond the areas of adjusting your line.

“I was looking at my steering wheel as directly as I had done every previous lap. And when I looked up 100 meters before the corner, I realized that I was right behind Fernando instead of half a second. You know, we have such an obligation to take care of them when we drive. If you add into the mix you’re allowed to brake in the middle of the road to get a tactical advantage, or to get a tactical advantage, that might be one step too far.”

Alonso was later penalized by the FIA ​​for driving erratically but in Suzuka he claimed he did not believe he had done anything wrong. “I was surprised by the penalty in Melbourne but there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “There is no obligation to drive 57 laps in the same way. Sometimes we go at a slower speed, to save fuel, to save tires, to save battery, sometimes we go slowly into corners or into some sectors of the track to give the DRS to the car behind because it will that’s a useful tool if the second car behind is going faster.”

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