In a massive surprise to everyone Nico Rosberg has retired from Formula One just five days after winning his first World Championship, now as he rides off into the sunset and the dust settles in the Mercedes garage we ask who will replace him next season. There are many fine candidates in the F1 paddock at the moment, many of which will jump at the chance to take the championship-winning seat.
- Valteri Bottas
Valteri Bottas has been at Williams for a while now, and whilst his skills and performance have been impressive in the past the sad fact of the matter is he hasn’t had the car under him to get him to a race challenging position. The Fin has been racing with Williams since 2013 and has been a rising star on the track taking many of the spoils from the Mercedes drivers in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Whilst his star has faded slightly in the 2016 season by an underperforming car his skill are undoubtedly great and would certainly be a great fit for the Mercedes car.
- Max Verstappen
Max certainly has an outside chance of making it to Mercedes next season, his frankly astonishing performance last season is truly impressive getting on the podium seven times and winning his debut race with the Red Bull team after moving up from Toro Rosso after China. Whilst it is unlikely Red Bull would let such a talented driver go his stock is certainly rising and we will almost certainly see him on the podium next season be it in silver or blue.
- Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi has been around a long time in F1 and as time has past he has lost pace and confidence in his team, Ferrari have not given Raikkonen a car that compete with the Mercedes. Despite his huge talent he has failed on numerous occasions to compete at the highest level. Despite this though I feel Raikkonen still has the skill and ability to compete with the best, given the right car and a team he has confidence in could lead to magic and a second world title for the Finnish superstar.
- Daniel Ricciardo
The ever smiling ozzy, the honey badger whatever you want to call him Ricciardo is a great driver and able to compete with the best from Mercedes and Ferrari given the chance. His confidence in Red Bull has certainly wavered particularly this season, but in a Mercedes Riccardo could be the one to knock Hamilton off his perch as top driver in the championship. Ricciardo is one of the fastest drivers on the track and a rising star and almost certainly a future world champion.
- Fernando Alonso
Arguably the best driver since Schumacher Alonso has been going through a torrid time at the moment, the McLaren team have failed him at every turn, resulting in a driver that cannot perform when he wants to and someone who just doesn’t care. Mercedes are certainly intrigued by Alonso and is the current front-runner to take over the seat. If Alonso stays at McLaren this will almost certainly be his last season in Formula One, but if Alonso were at Mercedes they could relight that fire that won Alonso two world championships and encourage him to stay around for the next few years.
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