Lewis Hamilton F1: Mercedes prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli admits he’s under pressure to replace

Lewis Hamilton F1: Mercedes prodigy Andrea Kimi Antonelli admits he’s under pressure to replace

One of Formula 1’s most exciting prospects has admitted he was feeling the pressure after being persistently tipped to Lewis hamilton bee Mercedes.

Hamilton will leave the Brackley club at the end of this season as he takes on a new challenge with Ferrari.

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The seven-time world champion has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Mercedes, winning six of his drivers’ titles while driving for the iconic team, and last weekend at Silverstone, finally ended his longest streak in Formula 1 without a win.

There has been much speculation about who will replace the Briton in 2025, with Max Verstappen is one of the names mentioned with a sensational switch.

Carlos Sainz – who will replace Hamilton at Ferrari – has also emerged as a contender for the vacant seat, with Toto Wolff this week revealing that the Spaniard is one of the drivers who is eligible.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli won his first F2 race at Silverstone
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Antonelli ‘relief’ after stunning first win

Another name still in the running is that of Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

The 17-year-old reinforced his excellent reputation last weekend, winning the Formula 2 sprint race at Silverstone prior to the British Grand Prix, achieving his first Formula 2 victory.

Antonelli has shown glimpses of his pace this year but has failed to live up to the high expectations placed on his young shoulders. However, his controlled performance in the rain at Silverstone on Saturday underlined his quality and proved he has the maturity to match his undoubted talent.

Wolff has already admitted that he is impressed with Antonelli’s progress and is keep a watchful eye on his development as he looks to secure the team’s long-term future.

Speaking to the media after his emotional maiden victory, Antonelli revealed he is finding it difficult to cope with the added pressure that comes with being seen as Hamilton’s heir apparent at Mercedes.

“I don’t always handle pressure well,” he said. “Of course this season has been quite a bit of pressure, to be honest.

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“But I can say today that I’ve been coping with it pretty well. There are still some improvements to be made, because sometimes I still make some mistakes.

“For example, yesterday during qualifying I made a mistake on my lap and lost quite a bit of time.

“It’s true that sometimes I still don’t perform as well as I could, but I try to handle the pressure as best I can every time. I think today was really the highlight.

“It was a big relief for me because it really takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

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