Sebastian Vettel drops bombshell hint of Formula 1 return to Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton

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Sebastian Vettel has refused to rule out a sensational return to F1 as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement at Mercedes.

Hamilton will join Ferrari next season leaving Mercedes with a vacant seat alongside George Russell, The Sun reports.

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Vettel says he has been speaking with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who has made it clear he would also love to sign Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Wolff could also opt for highly-rated 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli, but when asked if he was in the running, Vettel did not rule out a return.

“Well, potentially I am because I haven’t got a drive, but the question is, am I looking for one?” he said.

“I think it depends on the package. I retired from Formula One not to come back, but I also did say that you never know. So I think it still stands.

“Obviously, there’s things that I miss, which is mostly the competition. And things that I don’t miss, so that hasn’t changed.

“Obviously, life is very different if you’re not involved and I do enjoy that still. You never know where life is taking you, so maybe it takes me back behind the wheel, maybe it doesn’t.

“I’ve had conversations with Wolff. Not really about the seat.

“We did speak about the whole situation in short as well. But I did speak to others as well because I’m still keeping in touch every now and then.

“I have some projects and ideas together with F1. We’ll see if they will turn out or not.

“So I am staying in touch. I don’t know. It has to be a couple more phone calls and conversations, I guess, to really find out a little bit more. But for sure it’s one of the best seats on the grid.

“Performance-wise, Mercedes has a great track record, struggling a little bit in the last years, but then struggle and you’re still second and third in the constructors’ championship, it’s not like you’re racing in no man’s land.”

Vettel also waded into Red Bull Racing’s off-track problems and called for “more transparency”.

The German driver, who won his four F1 titles with the team, says there is “still room for improvement” in relation to how many women are working in F1.

Earlier this year Red Bull boss Christian Horner was investigated by the energy drink’s HQ in Austria following a complaint from a member of staff.

The grievance has since been dismissed but rival teams have called for a clearer understanding into Red Bull’s own processes.

Vettel added: “Obviously there’s been a lot of talk since the beginning of the year. I think with these things, it’s always difficult to know everything.

“It would be nice if there was simply more transparency so that you could have more of an opinion.

“I think it’s always difficult if you read one thing, then another thing and then the opposite.”

Vettel left Red Bull to drive for Ferrari and then Aston Martin before calling time on his F1 career at the end of 2022.

When quizzed how women were treated in the sport during his career as a driver, he said: “F1 is as an old-fashioned business in many ways.

“So first of all, there weren’t many women employed within the sport you know, the numbers were going up.

“So between when I started and when I left, there were a lot more women in the paddock and a lot more women not just following the sport, but also working in the sport.

“So I think that’s a positive change. But I think really, like everywhere else, there’s still room for improvement.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.