Mercedes given wildcard in hunt for new Lewis Hamilton team-mate

Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button

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Former McLaren Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen has claimed he would only return to the sport if he received an offer from Mercedes or Red Bull. Such comments do not go unnoticed in the midst of speculation surrounding a new partner for Lewis Hamilton with current team-mate Valtteri Bottas faltering.

Magnussen, who now races in the IMSA Championship in North America, enjoyed seven full seasons in F1 with McLaren, Renault and Haas before his contract was not renewed last year.

Reflecting on a lengthy spell in an uber-competitive sport, the Dane said: “I’m super happy about that and I had some great experiences. Having said that, I feel fresh motivation, and I feel like it’s fun again.”

However, when presented with the possibility of returning to F1, Magnussen claimed: “If I had a Mercedes or a Red Bull I wouldn’t say no. I don’t think many racing drivers would, but that’s not going to happen.”

His comments surrounding the enjoyment of sport highlight the stress and pressure that F1 drivers experience during the course of the season.

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That level of expectation is something that Lewis Hamilton is used to after well over a decade in the sport.

Meanwhile, his team are in the midst of confirming his team-mate for 2022 to give him the best chance of fending off the likes of Max Verstappen to win a record-breaking eighth drivers’ title.

Hamilton’s current team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, is facing an uncertain future after a six-race season which has, so far, been marked by poor performances.

In Baku, the Finn barely scraped into Q3 before a fundamental lack of pace saw him finish outside of the points.

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Despite enjoying the same machine as Hamilton, Bottas has accumulated less than half the points, often trailing so far off the pace that he cannot fulfil his wing-man role for the Englishman.

Verstappen, on the other hand, has benefitted from an effective wing-man in the form of Mexican Sergio Perez, propelling the Dutchman to the top of the drivers’ standings.

Williams’ George Russell has been touted as the most likely replacement for Bottas going into 2022.

The 23-year-old is one of the sport’s most exciting youngsters and is widely expected to line up in the Mercedes machine sooner or later.

The switch was generally expected to happen in the off-season, although it has also been suggested that if Bottas’ form does not pick up soon, Mercedes could be forced to make the embarrassing switch mid-season.

Certainly, Kevin Magnussen was not a name many expected to hear in this department.

Even the man himself has admitted that it is unlikely, but with Mercedes on the brink of being forced into a decision by Bottas’ poor form, never say never.

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