Hamilton warns against big-name replacement for Rosberg

If Mercedes want to replace retired Formula One champion Nico Rosberg with a rival star driver, Lewis Hamilton advised it is not the best idea as a team.

Winner of three drivers’ championships, Hamilton was dethroned as world champion by team-mate Rosberg before the German sensationally retired earlier this month.

A host of drivers have been linked with a vacant seat at Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein, Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Vettel all thrown into the mix, though the F1 manufacturer insist no announcement will be made until January at the earliest.

And Hamilton has warned Mercedes to be careful who they choose as his new team-mate for 2017 and beyond.

“Basically, once they’ve dwindled it down to five drivers, or whatever it is, the shortlist, contractually they have to discuss with me,” the Englishman told Channel 4 television.

“I don’t have a say who it is. I recently [saw] comments online saying, ‘Lewis doesn’t care who his team mate is,’ which is a little bit out of context.

“It is important who we have in the second car, important for team morale. We’ve seen in other teams and times where it can be a poisonous effect on a team, the arch rivalry between drivers.

“And so for sure that’s really important, because I’m really happy here, I love being where I am. There have been some interesting scenarios. We generally always pull through – so we have to make sure that whatever we bring is at least as good as what we had, if not better, in terms of creating that energy.

“I’ve had experiences with certain individuals in the past which I would strongly advise not in a team, to have that scenario. But what I meant is I will drive against any single driver you want.”

“They can put any driver they want – bring Sebastian [Vettel], Fernando [Alonso], bring whoever you really want.

“I drove against Fernando in my first year [at McLaren in 2007] and beat him, so that’s not a worry for me.

“I am happy to drive against any of them. But in terms of what is best for the team, probably not the best ideas.”

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