Russell is being earmarked as the successor to Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes has also poured a significant investment in the young Briton
Winds of change beckon both the Williams and Mercedes teams and we could be set for a new driver lineup at both if a switch between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell happens. Russell who is a contracted junior driver for Mercedes has been on loan to Williams for the last two years where he’s built a reputation as one of the finest drivers on the grid. He was even-handed an opportunity to fill in for Lewis Hamilton last year when he was down with COVID19. At the race, he almost beat Bottas to pole and successfully overtook the Finn at the start building a commanding lead over him until a series of unfortunate incidents destroyed his chance for a first win.
This situation bred chatter that Russell would replace Bottas at Mercedes. What’s interesting is that Bottas himself joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 when Nico Rosberg suddenly decided to retire from F1 after winning the 2016 world title. There is chatter that a simple switch will happen. Adding fuel to the fire is the new Williams CEO who also takes over team principal responsibilities this weekend onwards – Jost Capito.
“At the moment I wouldn’t rule anything out. It’s all open. We assume that George will be with us until the end of the season, and he would like that too. Everything else is speculation. We have a contract with him, which is valid. But you know that anything can be arranged if it is necessary. I have a good relationship with Toto. He can call me at any time,” said Jost Capito as reported by Grandpa.news.
What’s more intriguing is the fact that there could be talks between Mercedes and Williams officials during the French GP weekend.
‘According to RTL information, official talks between Bottas and Wolff are to take place during the French race this weekend, with the final decision to be made after the second race in Austria (4 July) to give Bottas enough time to look for a new cockpit,” states PlanetF1.com
Bottas and Russell also crashed during the race at Imola which added fuel to the fire. Russell initially blamed Bottas for the crash but had to retract his statements after being criticised by Toto Wolff.
Russell is being earmarked as the successor to Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes has also poured a significant investment in the young Briton which is why it will be very hard for Bottas to retain his seat even if Hamilton decides to call it a day at the end of the 2021 season, which also is unlikely as a deal is being renegotiated.