Bottas or Russell? Mercedes to decide who will be beside Hamilton in 2022

Williams driver George Russell has been linked to Mercedes ever since he joined the Formula One paddock. While nothing has been confirmed yet, it looks like Mercedes will decide whether to keep Bottas in Mercedes or sign Russell in the next couple of months.

George Russel and Valtteri Bottas

The Brackley-based team announced a new two-year contract for their star driver, Lewis Hamilton, during the weekend of the Austrian Grand Prix. Hamilton, who was very happy about extending his time with the Silver Arrows, said that he doesn’t think any change is required with the team because everything works perfectly fine.

Ever since Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017, he has been a consistent podium sitter for the team and has helped them win the Constructor’s Championship every season. Bottas has also helped out Hamilton on multiple occasions by letting him pass in crucial situations to get as many points as possible for the Drivers’ Championship. For these reasons, it would make sense to keep Bottas with Mercedes as he is a very team-oriented driver and never has had any ego clash with Hamilton.

On the other hand, George Russel is one of the brightest young prospects in Formula One right now. A former GP3 and FIA F2 champion, Russel has also been part of the Mercedes Junior Driver Program since 2017. Ever since joining Williams in 2019, Russell has impressed everyone with the raw pace he has. In the two and a half-season Russell has been with Williams, he has never been out-qualified by a teammate, which is a very impressive feat. This season, Russell has managed to qualify for Q2 at every race. He even managed to qualify for Q3 at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Out of the next generation of drivers, Russell has been the odd one out in terms of waiting for a big opportunity, as both Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris are at big teams and have signed contracts to stay there for several years. It’s now just a matter of time before Russell gets to drive for a big team.

According to Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, if Mercedes do sign Russell, he would work hard to ensure that Bottas stays on the grid for the foreseeable future with a new team. But suppose the rumours floating around the paddock are to be accurate. In that case, Wolff won’t have to work that hard to make sure that Bottas has a team for next year because, according to many sources, Alfa Romeo has contacted Bottas’s agent about a possible move to the team in case he doesn’t resign with Mercedes.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff and the rest of the team have to make the call on who to sign for next year. And according to Wolff, they will decide by the end of the summer.

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