Valtteri Bottas will look for options if Mercedes drive doesn’t happen for F1 2022, as George Russell is not pressuring anybody to hire him.
As has been the cases for some time, Bottas always remains under some kind of pressure, considering he is racing for Mercedes and against Lewis Hamilton. In 2021, he had a couple of indifferent performances, but the last couple of races have seen an improvement.
While still chasing his first F1 win of 2021, he was second in F1 Austrian GP – owing possibly to Hamilton’s maladies – following on from third in Styrian GP. His performances have not been hugely bad, with five podiums so far, one less than Hamilton.
As is the case with him all these years, he is again driving for a seat next season. There are those who say he is under pressure and that a decision has been made, which points towards him not being retained by Mercedes, but there is no certainty at the moment.
As it stands Hamilton will drive for Mercedes until 2023 and by all accounts, Bottas has a good working relationship with the Brit and his decision to re-sign doesn’t surprise him. “Obviously it is good for him,” said the Finn. “It’s obviously fully deserved that, and it’s nice to see there is still the passion and the joy of racing. He’s obviously doing well.
“It’s a no-brainer for the team and for Lewis. And for me. I just realised that it’s already, July, and August break is only two races away, so I’m sure soon we have to discuss,” summed up Bottas. As we know, his contract at Mercedes expires at the end of 2021.
Almost 50% of the season is up and it is usually when the ‘silly’ season happens. At this stage, Bottas certainly needs to know where he is for 2022. It is their decision and all he can do is perform 100% all the time and give them the proverbial food for thought.
There are other forms of racing of course; Rallying, Formula E, but Bottas still loves F1 and wishes to remain in the sport. If not Mercedes, he will look for options as he says, but looking at the grid, only viable options would be Williams and or Alfa Romeo.
“First, obviously I want to get the understanding from the team, what is the plan, which driver they want in the other car,” said Bottas. “Lewis is confirmed the other is still free, so, you know, team needs to decide I need to have that discussion. But I also feel like I have many, many years still left in me. I enjoy racing, I love racing I love F1.
“So, it’s definitely not done to go to other form of sport or motorsport in the coming years. So, if that wasn’t the case that, I wouldn’t continue with Mercedes, of course I would look at other options. But it’s not something I need to think about now. And I also have a good management team, and they haven’t told me anything yet.
“I don’t know if they’ve been in touch with anyone, because they know how important it is to focus on at this current moment and delivering the best we can, as a team and for me personally. And the time will be right soon. I don’t know yet which day, which week. But I think yes, we’ll have to look at all the options and the situation as a whole,” summed up Bottas.
While Bottas is waiting for his confirmation, it is similar for Russell, who many people see as a shoe-in for 2022 at Mercedes, but with Hamilton now staying until 2023, that narrows his options slightly at the Brackley outfit, but it will be on Toto Wolff and co to decide.
The Williams driver, though, seems pleased that Hamilton will be still there next year and the year after even if it diminishes his opportunities. “I am really pleased to see Lewis staying in the sport,” said Russell. “He’s obviously a worldwide superstar, and still performing at an exceptional level. I know the guys today had a bit of a tough day, but on the whole, I guess he’s like a fine wine, keeps getting better with age.
“Max and Red Bull seem very strong, but I’m sure Lewis is going to be pushing the whole way. As I say, I just think it’s really great for F1 to have a guy like Lewis staying. You want to be racing against the best drivers in the world, and if Lewis wouldn’t be on the grid next year, it would be a shame, because there would be one of the greatest of all-time not on the grid.
“For me personally, I want to compete against the best people in the world, which I think, to be honest, on the grid right now, we’ve got a very good group of drivers who deserve to be here,” summed up Russell. Wolff has already stressed that the Brit doesn’t need to prove himself and just has to continue to perform to the best of his abilities on track.
Russell is not thinking too far ahead too, but notes that he remains in touch with Mercedes. “I don’t really know to be honest, as I said, I’m really not pressurising anybody, because I just want to do the talking on the track and just focus on circuit, because I know if I do the job on the track, everything will sort itself out,” he said.
“I think, you know, Mercedes know me so well throughout all the years, and I’m in contact with them daily, as it has been for the last three years. Yeah, they’ll get it done, when they believe it’s the right time, whichever way they decide to go,” summed up Russell, who is speculated to be confirmed in British GP, but it is unlikely to happen at this stage.
The story was co-written by Neil Farrell
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