Valtteri Bottas has had a lukewarm second half of the 2018 F1 season, with Mercedes allegedly sapping out his confidence with the team orders in Russia.
Since then Bottas has been way off pace in qualifying and on race days.
Hamilton has been putting his foot on the pedal and dishing out brilliant laps during qualifying, but Bottas has been comfortably behind him(close to 3 or 4 tenths behind).
While Mercedes have announced a contract extension for Bottas for the 2019 season, with Ocon’s seat not confirmed for next season, there are suggestions that Mercedes could offer the Mercedes seat to Ocon by buying out Bottas.
Former F1 driver, Robert Doornbos has said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes actually decide to go that way, buy out Bottas and put Ocon with Hamilton in that Mercedes seat for the 2019 season.
“Bottas has been very disappointing in the second half of the season,” Doornbos said as quoted by Ziggo Sport.
“Maybe Mercedes are starting to think that they should put Ocon in that car. Yes, Hamilton is ruthless, but Bottas is 3 or 4 tenths behind in every race. Maybe Ocon can do better.
“There is certainly enough time to buy his (Bottas’) contract, so it wouldn’t surprise me,” he added.
Rumours have been doing the rounds that Mercedes could in fact be weighing this option, but nothing concrete has been reported until now.
Bottas was asked about the rumours, but was content with his position and said that there was nothing to worry about.
“If I perform the way I am personally expecting and the team is expecting then everything is good,” the Finn said.
“If I don’t perform for some reason then that’s going to be my fault then I could be under pressure but if things go the way I want, the way I plan, there’s no worries.” he concluded.