Lewis Hamilton reckons former F1 rival Sebastian Vettel would be an “amazing option” for Mercedes to replace him.

The seven-time world champion is quitting Mercedes at the end of the year to complete a blockbuster switch to Ferrari, leaving a vacated seat at the German manufacturer for 2025.

Vettel, who retired from F1 in 2022, is just one name who has been linked with Mercedes. The 36-year-old German has admitted he is thinking about making a return to the sport.

And Hamilton, who battled then-Ferrari driver Vettel for the 2017 and 2018 world titles, says he “would love” to see the four-time world champion return to F1.

“I would love for Seb to come back and I think it would be an amazing option for the team,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

“German driver, multi-world championship winning driver, and someone who has amazing values who would continue to take the team forward. I’d love it if he came back.”

Several drivers including the likes of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz – both of whom are out of contract – have been linked with the Mercedes seat.

Mercedes could also promote their teenage protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is believed to be Toto Wolff’s first choice replacement for Hamilton.

But a quick-fire F1 graduation for the 17-year-old Italian depends on how he gets on in his rookie Formula 2 season.

“The only thing I really care about is that the team takes on someone that with integrity and that are aligned with the team and where the team’s going,” Hamilton added.

“Someone compassionate that’s able to work with great people and continues to lift them up. There’s so many great people in this team.

“And as drivers… there are some that are more selfish than others, there are some that are good drivers but perhaps not the best within the team environment, I don’t know because I’m not been in with all of them. But I hope they find someone great.

“They’ve already got George and he’s perfect so finding a good option alongside him I’m sure they’ve got so many good options. They’ve got so many options. I do think it’s always great to give an opportunity to up and coming drivers so the idea of a youngster coming in for me is exciting.”