George Russell and Valtteri Bottas say there won’t be any news for two weeks at least regarding their F1 future, while Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc weigh in.
Mercedes wanted time until summer break for anything to happen and with it done, it was natural for Williams’ Russell and Mercedes’ Bottas to be asked about their F1 future during the Belgian GP press conference. But unsurprisingly, they had no news to share.
In a way, it was coming, since teams usually would have announced anything before the press conference, if they had sorted it already. But if we go by the body language of the two drivers, it seemed like the duo know what’s to come.
While Bottas made it 50-50 of knowing or not knowing, Russell was a bit clear on having no news to share, whether at Spa-Francorchamps and or even at the next round at Zandvoort. He even noted that he has no issues for anything to stretch until after Abu Dhabi too.
“There is no news to share,” said Bottas in the press conference. “Maybe I know something, maybe I don’t, but like I said there’s no news to share. I don’t need to clarify any reasons for that. I think the same for me and George, that we have a job to do here, and there’s no news, and we’re going to focus on racing and getting maximum points for the team we are racing with.”
When asked if one-year deal and the delay is a problem, Bottas added: “It’s not problematic, it’s nothing new for me. The situation overall, I’m fine with it completely, just really head down and focus for the weekend. I’m pretty sure the next few weeks will fly by with the triple-header and the battle in our hands as a team is the main focus. Things eventually will sort themselves out and we’ll see.”
While talking about the immediate timeline, Russell noted about summer break discussions. “No news to share at this stage,” he said. “Obviously, we were in discussions over the summer break but there’s nothing to announce, one way or another, this weekend, and probably not next weekend either to be honest.
“Which I think is no problem – do things right rather than quickly. We’re both fortunate that we are both looked in ways by Mercedes and we both trust them to look after our futures one way or another. From my side there is no real problems and whether it’s tomorrow, whether it’s after Abu Dhabi, you have to trust the people who are looking out for you,” summed up Russell.
When asked about the challenge Hamilton pose as a teammate and rival, Russell was pretty desperate to have that and showcase his mettle. “As any driver wants to go up against the best and obviously Lewis is probably the greatest of all time,” he said.
“So you want to put yourself against him and see how you fare. It would be probably an honour for anybody to get that opportunity. That’s obviously all hypothetical at the moment. But this is the same comments as I’ve said three years ago, if I could choose to race against anybody as my team mate, Lewis would be the one,” summed up Russell.
Hamilton, meanwhile, weighed in his opinion on Bottas and how they have worked well together, but he ultimately put it down for Toto Wolff to take the decision, which he will fully abide by – amid stories of the Brit not wanting Russell at his side.
“I’ve obviously been vocal in the past about my loyalty to Valtteri and worked incredibly closely with him,” said Hamilton. “I think our working relationship is better than ever. [Looking at it, see] Toto’s a great leader and as I said in the past we always stay connected. Of course we talk about these things and naturally, we’re part of the same team, we want what’s best for the team moving forwards.
“We want to win more championships and so we just have conversations. But at the end of the day, it’s down to him and the board at Mercedes to make that decision. I’m a part of the team, so I support him whichever way they go, naturally. I’m just at the moment trying to put all my energy into doing the best I can this season,” summed up Hamilton.
There was support from Verstappen and Leclerc, for Russell, though. “For sure George is very quick and he can’t stay where he is, I think, forever,” said the Dutchman. “I think he deserves more. At the end of the day it’s up to Mercedes to make the call, not really from my side. But for sure I rate him very high as a driver.
“He is, of course, still very young as well, so it’s natural that the younger guys at one point move up, especially the good drivers.” While, Leclerc added: “I think it’s great if George gets that seat because he deserves it. It is always very difficult to judge in Formula 1 because the cars are so different and obviously with George being at Williams, it is always difficult to judge how much of a good job he’s doing.
“But he’s consistently there and showing good things. Also in the past I’ve raced with him and I know how strong is George. So he definitely deserve that spot and I think it will be great to have such a talented driver in that seat,” summed up Leclerc.
Here’s Valtteri Bottas on agreeing with Toto Wolff regarding future decision