As Max Verstappen tightens the screws, Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff may defy Lewis Hamilton.
While Lewis Hamilton has stated that he wants his current partner Valtteri Bottas to stay at Mercedes, team principal Toto Wolff may disregard this in order to work in his team’s best interests.
When it comes to choosing a teammate for top star driver Lewis Hamilton next season, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff may choose to ignore him. Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s current teammate, recently reported that the seven-time world champion has indicated his desire for the Finn to stay at Mercedes.
Bottas told MTV Sport in Finland that he and Hamilton had a candid discussion about their wish to be together next season. “Yes, Lewis has stated unequivocally that he wants me to be his teammate,” he said.
“We can do a lot if we work together. Drivers, in reality, cannot have a significant impact on it.
“Yes, there is a larger machine at work here that makes those decisions.”
Wolff, along with the Daimler board, will be the most significant cog in that “larger machine” when it comes to the 2022 selection.
George Russell, who drove for Mercedes as a junior and whose three-year contract at Williams is slated to expire this season, has been mentioned repeatedly in discussions for that slot.
Given the unquestionable potential of Max Verstappen and Red Bull leading Mercedes to look over their shoulder for the first time in years, Wolff may be wise not to follow Hamilton’s pleas and shift his team in a more youthful path.
Russell, who has raced for the Brackley-based team since 2017, is eight years younger than Bottas, who is 23 years old.
Given the outstanding speed of the Mercedes car, Bottas’ results this season have been lackluster, as he has already been forced to retire from three races in 2021.
The most recent of them occurred in Hungary at the final race before the summer break, when Bottas made a braking error on the opening corner of the Grand Prix, resulting in a big pile-up and a great deal of resentment from other teams.
Russell’s best performance for Williams this season, on the other hand, came at the Hungaroring, where he finished in the points for the first time.
If Mercedes’ ultimate ambition is to gain an even tighter grip on the Constructors’.