Toto Wolff hails the pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton as a benchmark between F1 teammates, as Jost Capito adds on George Russell and Williams’ future.
Following the events between Nico Rosberg and Hamilton, Mercedes had a huge relief with the pairing of the Brit with Bottas, as it brought some calmness amid bitter rivalry between the previous pair. It also made the life of Wolff slightly easier in handling.
Time and again, Hamilton has praised the partnership with Bottas. He did so again after he was announced to leave Mercedes at the end of the 2021 F1 season. Wolff, in fact, termed their partnership as the benchmark between teammates in the sport.
Wolff also said that Bottas would have deserved the 2022 seat at Mercedes, but he opted to switch to Alfa Romeo and start a new journey. “This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us,” he said. “Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.
“Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success. He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport; when the time comes, he will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family.”
In their journey together – so far – Mercedes has clinched both the titles for all of the four seasons. The intention certainly is to win for the fifth time together, but the challenge posed by Red Bull is immense and will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, much like Wolff, there was huge praise from Hamilton for Bottas too. “I’m immensely proud to have worked alongside Valtteri Bottas for the last five years,” he wrote. “Together, we’ve been part of a team that has delivered four constructors’ championships, and we’ve motivated one another to keep pushing through the ups and the downs.
“He has been the best teammate I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Your speed and resilience has been impressive but where you truly stand out to me is the human being you are. You are greater than you know and I know there’s a bright future ahead for you. Thank you Valtteri for all of your support and amazing contributions to this team. You will be missed. I wish you all the best for your future endeavours, let’s finish off strong and get that eighth [championship] for the team,” summed up Hamilton.
The feelings were mutual on Bottas side too, with the Finn not only thanking the team, but also Wolff and Hamilton. :I am so proud of everything we have achieved together in my time with Mercedes – and it is not over yet, because we have our biggest challenge so far to try and claim our eighth constructors’ title,” he said.
“When I look back on my time with Mercedes, I want to be able to say that I squeezed every drop out of this opportunity and left nothing on the table; and I want to make sure that we finish our time together as champions. It has been a privilege and a great sporting challenge to work with Lewis, and the harmony in our relationship played a big part in the constructors’ championships we won as teammates.
“Later this year, the time will come to say goodbye -that’s not for now, but I would like to thank Toto and the team for the respect in how we took the decision together. I am really pleased to have chosen my new challenge with Alfa Romeo, an exciting and iconic manufacturer, and by the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid. I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and when the time comes, for wins. But for now, my mission is clear: maximum attack for Mercedes, all the way to the final lap in Abu Dhabi,” summed up Bottas.
While the Finn leaves Mercedes, his place will be taken up by Russell, who knew already since Spa about his position. Despite the stories around Hamilton blocking the move, the world champion was quick to welcome him in the team as a full-time driver.
“I want to take a moment to welcome George Russell to the team,” wrote Hamilton. “I remember meeting him when he was young, dreaming of one day being a Formula 1 driver. I’d only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him.
“He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly. Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot on our team. I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise Mercedes higher. See you next year,” summed up Hamilton.
With this move, Russell will end his Williams tenure at the end of the 2021 F1 season, with his current boss Capito having a high praise for the Brit. He started his journey under Claire, until Dorilton Capital took over and roped in the German at the helm.
Capito not just had praise for Russell, but added on having good options available for Williams for 2022, which has become a hot seat. “Over the past three years, it’s been clear to every member of staff here at Williams just how dedicated, focused, and talented George is through his contributions to the team both on and off track,” he said.
“He has all the characteristics necessary to achieve the greatest success in our sport and we are therefore delighted for him, both as a team and me personally, to see him rewarded with the opportunity to test himself at Mercedes. We will watch his progress with interest and pride, knowing the role Williams has played in developing his considerable skills.
“We were of course aware of this possibility coming to fruition and therefore have a number of strong driver options available to us. We now look forward to shaping our future line-up that will help us take the next step in our exciting journey as a team and will make any announcement in due course,” summed up Capito.
Here’s news of Valtteri Bottas joining Alfa Romeo
Here’s Toto Wolff on Dutch GP happenings
Here’s news on George Russell signing with Mercedes