“Now we can look at the second seat” – Team boss Toto Wolff is now turning his attention to deciding between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell as Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate from next season.
For Toto Wolff, the easy bit is done, while the more difficult one awaits. After Lewis Hamilton extended his stay with Mercedes for two more seasons, the focus shifts to rubber-stamping his teammate.
There are only two contenders – the incumbent Valtteri Bottas and the challenger-cum-junior driver George Russell. While Bottas is struggling significantly this season, Russell is having a standout season, having just made it to Q3 of the Austrian Grand Prix, and qualifying P9 for tomorrow’s race.
— GTOouttaNowhere (@GTOouttaNowhere) July 3, 2021
On the basis of recent form, Russell should have it easy over the Finn, but Wolff seems to suggest Bottas has a good chance too, with all set to decided based on the next few races.
“With Lewis we were clear since a while that we wanted to continue so that was obvious for us. Now we can look at the second seat. It’s between those two (Bottas and Russell) and we value them both for their strengths and for what they can contribute to the team.
“We always said we want to give it the next few races to gain more clarity. I’m also happy Valtteri’s racing, in my opinion, in Austria was really good and he needs to consolidate that. But he’s a known factor and in the same way we know the strengths and weaknesses of George.
“That decision is going to be made during the summer and the first discussion is going to be with George and with Valtteri. And then hopefully we are sorted before the end of the season.”