Carlos Sainz is not thought to be one of the leading candidates at the top of Mercedes’ two-man F1 driver wish list to replace Lewis Hamilton

That is according to‘s Lawrence Barretto, who reports that teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli is the driver Mercedes ideally want to fill the seat which will soon be vacated by seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is joining Ferrari in 2025.

Mercedes’ 17-year-old protege Antonelli is under consideration for promotion to F1 depending on his progress during his rookie Formula 2 season this year.

If Mercedes deem that Antonelli isn’t quite ready for the step up, current Aston Martin driver and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is thought to be the team’s alternative choice to partner George Russell.

“It is believed that for whatever reason, the Spaniard is not in the top-two on the team’s shortlist (Fernando Alonso is understood to be P2 behind Antonelli),” Barretto wrote as he considered Sainz’s possible options after losing his Ferrari seat.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24. Formula 1 World…

At the Australian Grand Prix, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner named race-winner Sainz as a candidate for Red Bull, with Sergio Perez out of contract at the end of the season.

According to Barretto, Sainz was in “contention at Red Bull even before the Australian Grand Prix weekend”.

“However, the problem for Sainz is that Red Bull are in no rush to decide on a team mate for Verstappen in 2025,” he added.

“It is believed they are happy to wait until the summer at the earliest – and that could be too long for Sainz to wait for fear of losing another project.”

Barretto goes on to say that Sainz is “very much in the mix” for Aston Martin if Alonso decides to leave, while Sauber, who will become Audi in 2026, are a “very real option” for the three-time grand prix winner.

“CEO Andreas Seidl is a big admirer of Sainz, having worked with him at McLaren, and he is understood to be very keen to bring Sainz onboard and make him the team leader,” Barretto continued.

“With Sauber struggling, Audi likely to take some time to get up to speed, and Sainz keen for a car that will let him be competitive from the off, such a move is less likely right now – however, Sainz might decide that this is the best option when he gets a feel for what other teams are likely to do.”

Barretto concluded that Williams “are also a contender” if Sainz is willing to take on a “long-term project”.