Updated: Dec 2, 2020
A Hamilton win at the Bahrain Grand Prix was overshadowed by a Romain Grosjean crash. Now the Brit has returned to the head of the headlines. Lewis Hamilton revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19, and is experiencing mild symptoms. Mercedes then ruled him out for this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix. They have yet to reveal a replacement.
In this article, I will look into possible replacements.
*GEORGE RUSSELL HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED AS THE REPLACEMENT*
Listed as one of the official Mercedes test drivers, Vandoorne last raced in 2018. He is a member of the Mercedes Formula E team, and was set to travel to Bahrain well before Hamilton tested positive. Vandoorne would be a cool option, as he is familiar with the machinery and has a superlicense. Vandoorne's career high finish is 7th, so he would likely be improving on that if he were to be called upon.
Gutierrez is also one of Mercedes' test drivers, but he lacks a current superlicense, having last raced in 2016. Gutierrez lives in London, and it could be hard for him to get to Bahrain in time for Thursday's media conferences.
The super-sub could once again be called upon, after subbing 3 races for Racing Point, and has more championship points than 3 teams this season, (Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams). Hulkenberg has no tie-ins with Mercedes, except for being an option for their 2013 seat. Hulkenberg should be familiar with Mercedes machinery though, as he drove the controversial "Pink Mercedes" of Racing Point, a car that rivals claim was copied from the 2019 Mercedes. Hulkenberg has never finished on the podium, so this would be a grand opportunity to do so.
Russell is a member of the Mercedes Driver Program, and currently races with Williams as an option to get the youngster ready for a 2022 seat with Mercedes. Russell emerges as a likely option, as he is familiar with the equipment having tested a Mercedes many times before, and is technically owned by Toto Wolff and Mercedes. Russell has never scored a point in F1, so racing for Mercedes would almost certainly get him a point. Williams would need to release Russell though, as he is employed by Williams. The Williams team is short on money, so they probably wouldn't hesitate to let Mercedes borrow Russell if it meant money. Williams would need a replacement, such as Jack Aitken, who has F2 duties, but owns a superlicense.
Ocon races for Renault, but is part of the Mercedes Driver Program. This is highly unlikely, since Renault is not short of money and doesn't have many other options. If Renault were to let Ocon move to Mercedes, they would need to replace him, and there aren't too many options out there.
Kubica is a proven race winner and driver. Kubica last raced with Williams in 2019, and currently is the test driver for Alfa Romeo, having made a test appearance for Alfa Romeo last weekend. The only concern is a disability in his arms, as he struggled last year in his first full season back in F1 after a nearly fatal rally crash. He would need permission from Alfa Romeo to be able to race.
As you can see, Mercedes has many options to replace Hamilton. Whoever replaces him will be in a race-winning car, racing next to Valtteri Bottas. Of course, Mercedes could just run one car because Hamilton has won the drivers title and Mercedes have won the constructors title, but I've never seen a team do that. I would have my money on Stoffel Vandoorne to replace Hamilton.