The driver market is beginning to heat up as the summer season approaches, a key date for contract negotiations on the Formula 1 grid and as reported by TJ13 yesterday, Russell is set to join Lewis Hamilton next year, with the possibility of switching with Bottas midseason.
George Russell, in his third year with Williams, looks more than capable of signing for Mercedes in 2022 and hopes to resolve his future as soon as possible.
The Briton is publically aiming to confirm a permanent move to the successful German team as the rhetoric has finally changed at Mercedes as Bottas is clearly out of favour.
That said, Russell appears yet to be contacted about the move claiming “he hasnt’ spoken to Toto about it yet” but yet admits that he wants “to finish the talks quickly,” pointing out a deadline of the summer for a firm decision on his future.
“That’s the main interest for everyone.” says Russell,
“I’m just focused on the here [Williams] and now, but I’m sure everything will be sorted out before the end of the summer break,” he confirmed.
Russell is contesting his third season with Williams after winning Formula 2 in 2018 over Lando Norris and Alexander Albon. He has managed to sneak into Q2 at every qualifying round of the current season to date and already knows what it’s like to lead and fight a race in Formula 1, evidenced at Sakhir last year, as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton who had contracted Covid 19. Only due to a team error during a pit stop did he lose the win whilst comfortably ahead of Vatteri Bottas.
Toto Wolff, Russell’s manager and Mercedes team boss, does not want to close contractual matters at the last minute either, as has already happened with Hamilton this season:
“We don’t want to wait until January to confirm the two drivers, also to give them peace of mind and allow them to concentrate on their work,” said the Brackley boss: “Obviously, a lot of things are still up in the air. We want the best for the team in the long term”
Rather tellingly Wolff admits that he “also want to bring fairness to our current driver line-up,”, perhaps suggesting that with Bottas removed as team mate to Lewis Hamilton, he might at least have a chance to join another team.
Despite Wolff’s continuity with his driver pairing so far; Bottas and Hamilton have been team-mates at Mercedes since 2017, he does not rule out possible changes on the horizon:
“We don’t doubt Valtteri or Lewis, but it’s clear that there will be negotiations,” he added. Finally, he stressed that on this occasion it will not be necessary to wait so long for the final decision or, at least, “not until January next year”
Russell to join Hamilton at Mercedes
Alas, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Baku showed many just how out of his depth Valtteri Bottas is right now; the Mercedes teammate of Lewis Hamilton confessed to the media that he still has no idea why he could not pick up more pace resulting in a ‘nil poi’ result in Azerbaijan – With that, George Russell will join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes F1.
It was a minor miracle that Bottas made it to Q3 in qualifying at all, not to mention that, despite Verstappen’s and Hamilton’s retirements, he didn’t move up any further than 12th place.
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