It’s fair to say last weekend Valtteri Bottas’ performance during the Formula 1 Sakhir Grand Prix was somewhat underwhelming, particularly when compared to stand-in Mercedes F1 driver George Russell’s sensational debut for the team.
Ralph Schumacher’s assessment of the Finnish driver for Sky Sports’ Germany was indeed damning, to the point that he claims that it’s unlikely Bottas will remain with the team next year.
“Maybe now it will also be down to the last race.” muses the former Formula 1 driver,
“But if he has a race weekend like that again, then the risk is also too big.
“In the last races his performance was really bad. Then you can’t go into next year with such a driver and collect points to win the Constructors’ World Championship,”
Currently, the Mercedes team boss (as it stands presently) Toto Wolff remains bullish about such speculation, firmly posting his flag on Bottas’s patch saying:
“Losing a title, you don’t put that away so easily,” obviously referring to the woeful attempt this season to challenge his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton,
“But Valtteri has the unconditional support within the team and I think he gets even hungrier every year.
“To win against the best driver would be the greatest satisfaction a racing driver can achieve. That it takes its toll was to be expected.”
Meanwhile, according to Schumacher, the German refutes this support within the team.
“I think he’s [Bottas] broken a bit, and I don’t think anyone at Mercedes will want to take that risk after the weekend George Russell showed.
“I think the pendulum has already swung one way. I would almost be surprised if he could redeem himself this weekend.”
Many might argue that with Bottas already signed for next year on a one year deal, that ship has sailed. But contracts are only worth the lip service given to the driver, at the end of the day if Mercedes need to put Russell into the Mercedes cockpit next to Hamilton, a large payout would be handed over to Bottas.
Leaving Mercedes would, “I suspect, also be the end of Bottas’ career,” says Schumacher,
“I don’t think anyone is shouting ‘yay’ at the moment. After all, if Mercedes were to replace him, it would be for a good reason.”
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