Rosberg – who secured the title back in 2016 with the Silver Arrows – was replaced by Valtteri Bottas after his shock retirement at the end of that season.
Bottas has remained at Mercedes ever since and taken nine race victories, but has struggled to impress this year and sits a lowly sixth in the current Drivers’ standings.
Both Bottas and Hamilton signed one-year contract extensions last season, tying them to the team until the end of 2021. Yet, the Brit is looking the more likely to stay with Mercedes, with fans calling for the Finn to be replaced by one of F1’s many young talents.
The most obvious of which is George Russell. The 23-year-old currently drives for minnows Williams, but is part of the Mercedes junior programme, and is widely regarded as Hamilton’s successor.
Despite often finding himself racing towards the back of the field, Russell has shown his potential in the Williams car, regularly putting in strong qualifying performances; he has never been out-qualified by a Williams teammate in 43 events.
The former Formula 2 champion did even get an opportunity to drive the Mercedes at last year’s Sahkir Grand Prix, replacing Hamilton after he had contracted Covid-19.
Russell impressed and looked likely to win the race, until late tyre issues ruined any chance of a first victory.
Now in his third season of F1, Russell has stated his desire for contract talks to be sorted as soon as possible, suggesting a possible move to Mercedes, but has yet to sit down with team boss Toto Wolff.
“I haven’t really spoken about it [with Wolff], that’s always just been my mindset [to conclude the talks quickly],” said Russell.
“I think we’d all want a nice summer break off when the season’s this intense, not messing around with contracts. I know I certainly would anyway.
“And it gives everybody a bit of clarity… I guess we’ll see in the coming weeks really.”
Yet, Rosberg doesn’t believe that it is the right time to call Russell up to the Mercedes seat.
“That’s the big question at the moment,” Rosberg told Sky News, as per The Express.
“I think from a British perspective, you can be really excited about the future because you have two extremely talented up-and-coming drivers.
“You’ve got Lando Norris and George Russell. Russell of course being a Mercedes driver.
“Certainly, [for] Toto Wolff, it’s not midseason, he’s going to be thinking about it very, very carefully.
“It’s difficult to know which way he’s going to go.
“But of course, George Russell would definitely be a great asset to team Mercedes even though of course we have to say Valtteri Bottas has been contrasting very strongly in the last years.
“It’s not something I think he should do.
“From a fan perspective it would be interesting to have a change and to have someone new in that second car alongside Lewis, someone who is really going to give Lewis a run for his money in the same team.
“A young guy who can replace Lewis as Number 1 driver in the future at Mercedes.
“From that point of view, the fan’s perspective, we would be quite happy to see a change there and see something new.”