F1 news: ‘Amateur’ driver to be sacked in two races as Horner snubs Hamilton

Express Sport keeps you up to date with all of the latest F1 news with the build-up to the Chinese Grand Prix intensifies.

Lewis Hamilton has been snubbed by Christian Horner.

The Chinese Grand Prix is now just days away as F1 teams brace themselves for the return of the controversial sprint race. It’s Max Verstappen who will arrive in Shanghai as the man to beat, 18 points clear of team-mate Sergio Perez after his win in Japan. But Verstappen is just one of a host of top drivers whose future is the subject of speculation as Mercedes continue their pursuit of a replacement for Lewis Hamilton.

F1 is heading back to the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time in five years. Back in 2019, it was then world champion Hamilton who prevailed, with Verstappen down in fourth.

This weekend signifies a new weekend format, with sprint race qualifying taking place on Friday with the shortened race itself being hled Saturday morning. And the Red Bull driver isn’t happy that the FIA are using China to experiment their new schedule

“I think it’s not great, let’s say like that, to do that,” said Verstappen. “Because when you have been away from a track for quite a while, I think you never know what you’re going to experience, right? So it would have been better to have a normal race weekend there.”

Express Sport brings you all the latest F1 news below…

Lewis Hamilton tipped to replicate Michael Schumacher success
Lewis Hamilton has been told that he can emulate Michael Schumacher’s success at Ferrari if the team are able to prise Adrian Newey away from Red Bull.

The top engineer’s future has been in doubt as a result of the furore surrounding Christian Horner, with Mercedes among the interested parties.

And ex-Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger believes that Newey alongside Hamilton would propel the Brit to even greater success.

When asked if Newey to Ferrari would signal another Schumacher-esque era of dominance, Berger replied: “With Hamilton instead of Michael.”

Mercedes starlet Andrea Kimi Antonelli took part in his first F1 test as the 17-year-old bids to succeed Lewis Hamilton next year.

He got behind the W12 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, driving a F1 car for the very first time and the 17-year-old explained just how overjoyed he was.

“Hello guys, first day done in an F1 car,” said Antonelli in a video on Mercedes’ social channels. “It’s been an incredible experience and I loved every second of it.

“The first day didn’t go as planned. We got some snow unfortunately so we couldn’t really drive. The second day was great and I did quite a lot of laps. It was really good fun. I want to thank the team for all their hard work and I’m excited for what is coming.”

Lewis Hamilton ally and Mercedes performance director Loic Serra has reportedly started his gardening leave ahead of a proposed move to Ferrari with the Brit.

Motorsport claim that Serra is set to be the first serious acquisition by Ferrari chief Frederic Vasseur as they look to challenge Red Bull going forward.

He is expected to work alongside Enrico Cardile as Ferrari plan for the upcoming 2026 changes in regulations.

George Russell ‘open’ to any Lewis Hamilton replacement
Mercedes star George Russell has admitted that he is “open” to whichever driver Toto Wolff pairs with him next season.

The Silver Arrows have been linked with Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz and Sebastian Vettel among others and Russell claimed that he has no preference to succeed Hamilton.

“Yeah, I mean, Sebastian’s (Vettel) a great person and he’s a four-time World Champion and for sure his personality is missed on the grid,” said Russell.

“And I think it’s important that we have the best 20 drivers in the world all competing for race wins and championships.

“So, as I said before… I’m really happy and open to have anybody as my team-mate.

“Whether it’s (a) World Champion, whether it’s a rookie, it doesn’t change how I go about my business. And yeah, as I said, we’ll welcome anybody.”

Max Verstappen has been warned that his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez will go “all guns blazing” for the remainder of the season.

Perez is racing for his future with his contract up at the end of the campaign and Sky Sports F1 pundit Bernie Collins has tipped the Mexican star to focus on his own performances, rather than the team.

“[Perez] is now the longest-standing team-mate of Max Verstappen,” she told The Fast and the Curious podcast. “Everyone else has been dispensed of way ahead of this. So I think he’s just thinking, ‘I just need to [go] all guns blazing and not worry so much about it’.

“I almost wonder if the moment that they start to cut that back, can they perform on anything near the same level? Like, the moment they start to worry about not crashing the car or whatever, do they lose too much? There were times last year when performance wasn’t good enough in qualifying.

“I did an interview with him in Holland actually last year, and I sort of said, ‘If you focused on just finishing second, would you finish second more consistently than any of the focus on being first?’ He didn’t really seem to take it on board so much. I think that they’re just so driven.”

Mercedes junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli has taken part in his first F1 test in the next step of his journey to become the sport’s newest star.

At the Red Bull Ring, the 17-year-old had his first taste of the W12 vehicle and will be closely monitored by Toto Wolff after being tipped to replace the outgoing Lewis Hamilton.

Though Formu1a.uno claim that adverse weather conditions hampered racing, forcing Antonelli and Mercedes to try again tomorrow.

Mick Schumacher reportedly has three chances to return to Formula One as he spends his second season without a seat.

F1-insider claim that Mercedes, Audi and Alpine are the likeliest contenders to hire Michael Schumacher’s son ahead of next season.

Toto Wolff’s outfit are on the lookout for Lewis Hamilton’s replacement and know Schumacher well, as he is the current reserve driver, but may have their sights set on the likes of Max Verstappen or Carlos Sainz.

Audi currently favour both Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg but want a decision next month, which may be at odds with Sainz’s plans as he waits for approaches from Red Bull and Mercedes, opening the door for Schumacher.

While Alpine may have an opening if Esteban Ocon replaces Hamilton at Mercedes and as Schumacher already races for the team in the World Endurance Championship, holds a strong relationship which would be advantageous.

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