Hamilton tested positive and Haas filling seats. News rundown 12/1

It’s been a big day in the world of Formula One news and I thought I would write up a quick post to talk about it.

The biggest news broke this morning with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes announcing that Lewis tested positive and wouldn’t able to compete in this weekend’s Grand Prix. Aside from the amazing stat of this being the first race weekend without Lewis sence he joined the sport in 2007, this brings up the question of who will replace the champion this weekend.

The choices for his replacement are the Mercedes reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, who is currently testing with the Mercedes formula E team but will travel to Bahrain afterwords. Vandoorne hasn’t raced in F1 senses his dreadful years with McLaren in 2016-2018 but proved his talent by finishing 2nd in the FE championship and winning the final race. 

Another option for the seat is Mercedes junior driver and current Williams driver, George Russell. A fan favorite for the seat, Russell came into the Williams seat in 2019 after winning F2 in 2018. He has not found the same success in the backmarker team, having yet to finish in the points in F1 but has stayed undefeated against his teammate in Qualifying after 35 races. Also, a favorite for the Mercedes seat when the top team decides to drop one of their current drivers, a race weekend for Russell would be a fantastic audition for the young driver in the top car.

The third most likely candidate for the seat is Nico Hulkenberg. Hulk as started three races this year for the Racing Point team after both their drivers tested positive and were unable to race. After losing his race seat and Reanult after the 2019 season, Hulk has been without a seat this year but has proved him worthy by scoring points in each of his three starts this season.

I personally think Mercedes would be smart to give Russel the drive but I think Williams might get in the way of it. If Mercedes really wants Russell I’m sure they can find a plan that Williams would see fit to loan over their star. If Russel does move to Merc for a race I think the Williams seat would be Vandoornes for the taking.

The other big news for the day is the announcement from Haas that they signed Russian Formula 2 driver, Nikita Mazepin to fill one of their seats for next season. The Russian has scored 2 wins, 5 podiums and 3rd place in the Hitech headed into the final race of the season this weekend in Bahrain. A long talked about player in the driver market, Mazepin tested for Force India and Mercedes in the past and received favorable praise from the teams. Aside from his on-track performance, Mazepin will also bring a considerable amount of money for the team, money they desperately need to get themselves out of the backfield rut they’ve found themselves in.

Finally, it was announced that after his wreck on Sunday, Roman Grosjean will not participate in the Sakhir Grand Prix this weekend and will be replaced by Haas reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi. Grosjean will also stay in the hospital for an extra day to help treat the burns he sustained.

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