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Lewis Hamilton endorses Sebastian Vettel: An 'amazing option' to fill Mercedes seat

Lewis Hamilton has tipped Sebastian Vettel as an "amazing option" to replace him at Mercedes.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton is moving to Ferrari from next season, leaving big shoes to fill at a team where he has lifted all-but one of his drivers' titles.

Vettel, meanwhile, has hinted at a return to the Formula One grid next year having left in 2022.

The German won four titles back to back between 2010 and 2013 with Red Bull and has recently had a test with Porsche that could see him race at Le Mans later this year.

Since 2000, three of the six world champions to leave the sport later returned to the grid, with Vettel potentially set to add to that list.

Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen all had time away from F1 before being enticed back and Vettel admitted in a Sky Sports interview on Wednesday that "it does cross my mind" when it comes to securing a new drive and has spoken to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

The departing Hamilton said it was never a consideration of his to take time away from the sport, before hailing Vettel as an ideal replacement at a team that has struggled for pace in the past two years.

"No, I've never thought about taking a year or two off and then coming back – When I'm gone, hopefully I'm gone for good," he said.

"You're always going to miss it. It's the greatest sport in the world and it's the greatest experience in the world and the most amazing feeling to be working with the people towards winning something.

"Probably there's nothing that's ever going to feel the same. I've not asked any of the drivers what they're missing but I would love for Seb to come back and I think it would be an amazing option for the team.

"A German driver, multi-world championship winning driver, and someone who has amazing values who would continue to take the team forward. I'd love it if he came back."

Pushed further on who he would like to take his seat – whether it be Vettel, reigning champion Max Verstappen or an F1 rookie, Hamilton replied: "The only thing I really care about is that the team takes on someone that with integrity.

"That are aligned with the team and where the team's going. Someone compassionate that's able to work with great people and continues to lift them up. There's so many great people in this team."

Hamilton's current team-mate George Russell is confirmed for Mercedes in 2025 and was enthused when it was pitched to him that he could be joined by a returning Vettel.

"Sebastian's a great person," he said.

"He's a four-time world champion and for sure his personality is missed on the grid.

"I think it is important that we have the best 20 drivers in the world all competing for race wins and championships.

"I'm really happy and open to have anybody as my team-mate, you know, whether it's world champion, whether it's a rookie, it doesn't change how I go about my business."

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