Jul.26 - Two former F1 drivers have cast doubt on a widely-believed rumour suggesting Valtteri Bottas will definitely lose his Mercedes seat to George Russell for 2022.

Prior to agreeing a new two-year deal for next year and 2023, seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton made it clear his preference is for Bottas to remain in place.

Indeed, since then, the Toto Wolff-led camp has been hailing Finn Bottas' instances of 'team play', including giving Hamilton a slipstream and letting him pass on track.

On the other hand, Dr Helmut Marko has warned that if Mercedes does not promote its junior driver Russell after three years at Williams, he would consider him for a Red Bull seat.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Blick newspaper: "Bottas is a good number 2 and nothing more."

However, two former F1 drivers think Mercedes may in fact prefer a 'good number 2' for Hamilton next year rather than an ambitious young charger like Russell.

"I'm not sure the transition (to Russell) will take place," former Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde told Ziggo Sport.

"As long as Hamilton is in the Mercedes, I think Russell will not be there. He will stay at Williams," the Dutchman predicted.

With a similar view is 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, who shared a fiercely acrimonious relationship as Hamilton's teammate before retiring and being replaced by Bottas for 2017 and beyond.

"It's a difficult one because Bottas is driving well and in essence would deserve to stay there," the German told the Daily Express.

"But at the same time, George Russell is a rising star of the future and performing incredibly well with a car that wouldn't deserve to be in Q3.

"He also would deserve the Mercedes seat, so it's a tough decision and I don't think they even know what way they're going to go yet. Let's see what they decide," Rosberg added.

If Bottas is ousted, authoritative media reports suggest his management is already in talks with Alfa Romeo.

Blick newspaper claims Mercedes team boss Wolff is close to his Alfa Romeo counterpart Frederic Vasseur, who will reportedly have free reign to decide the Swiss-based outfit's 2022 lineup.

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3 F1 Fan comments on “Former F1 drivers doubt Bottas will lose his Mercedes seat

  1. shroppyfly

    Yeah right..... lol

    Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton is not trying to sway Mercedes driver decision, and that is he “okay” whether it is Valtteri Bottas or George Russell.

    While Hamilton signed a new two-year deal earlier this year, committing to Mercedes until the end of 2023, his team-mate for next season has yet to be decided.

    Amidst growing speculation that Bottas is out and Russell is in, Wolff has kept his cards close to his chest.

    The Mercedes motorsport boss, who was full of praise for Bottas’ efforts at the British Grand Prix which helped Hamilton take the win, has said a decision will be made during the summer break.

    “We have to put our heads together in Brackley and discuss the matter with Mercedes in order to work out what our future driver pairing should look like,” he told Motorsport-Total.com.

    “We will come together over the summer, reach a decision then decide how we want to communicate this.”

    But which way he is leaning, he isn’t saying.
    For every pundit that has advised the team to go with Russell, another says Bottas is the better option as there will be less conflict.

    Former F1 driver turned pundit Giedo van der Garde recently told Ziggo Sport that he doesn’t think “Russell will end up at Mercedes as long as Hamilton is still there” while David Coulthard warned his compatriot that Russell’s “I don’t care who you are” attitude could cause conflict.

    Wolff, though, insists Hamilton does not mind which of the two he choices for Mercedes second seat.

    “Lewis is okay with both scenarios,” said the Austrian, “and he understands the pros and cons that speak for Valtteri and George.

    “Lewis has never tried to influence the decision and he has no preference as to who should be in the car.

    “He likes the relationship with Valtteri, and we know it too. But he never said that he would like this or that best.”

    Hamilton recently gave Bottas his vote of confidence, calling him “a great team-mate”.

    He added: “To be honest, I feel like that we currently have the pairing that delivers best when it comes to balance in the team and the knowledge of how we can develop our car.”


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