Ex-Hamilton Rival Believes Russell Deserves the Chance to Fill In Bottas’ Shoes at Mercedes

Published 08/25/2021, 3:11 AM EDT
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)


George Russell has been on Mercedes’ radar for more than a year now, but it initially looked like the Briton would replace Lewis Hamilton amidst the latter’s probable discomfort at Mercedes. However, as days passed by, it was very much clear that the 7-time world champion will stay well beyond 2022.

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Hence, the spotlight fell onto Valtteri Bottas’ seat. To the Finn driver’s terrible luck, he endured a troubled start to the 2021 season, which may have played a huge key in Mercedes’ think tank.

Consequently, the rumor mill spawned a scenario where Russell would replace Bottas by the end of the 2021 season. But, is Russell deserving enough to race for what is currently one of the most dominant F1 teams?

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Well, a former Williams driver thinks so.

What did the Ex-Williams driver say?

The runner-up of the 2008 F1 season, Felipe Massa, took to social media to host a Q&A session with the fans. And one of the questions that popped up was regarding the potential Russell-Bottas swap at Mercedes.

The fan asked whether Russell deserves to replace Bottas. “Does Russell deserve the chance in place of Bottas in 2022???

And the former Brazilian F1 driver was quick to give a nod to the question. He replied, “Yes“.

Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

There are certainly a number of positives to look at, but the biggest of all is Russell’s strength when it comes to the one-lap pace. The Briton, despite holding onto a rather underwhelming Williams, has managed to qualify into Q2 10 out of 11 times this season.

And the one time he failed to make the cut is when he managed to secure his first points for the team since his F1 debut in 2019.

Can Russell join the elites by beating Hamilton at Mercedes?

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As of 2021, Rosberg remains the only teammate to have defeated Hamilton to the championship title, which took place in 2016. 5 seasons have gone by since the glorious moment, and Hamilton is yet to face a tough fight from his teammate, Bottas.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 Williams’ George Russell after finishing eight in the sprint race qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

However, that could well end with this season, as Russell will most likely show up as the knight’s next challenge. Russell has spent enough time with Williams and has also tasted the speed of the Black Mercedes in 2020 at Sakhir.

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Hence, there is no denying that George Russell is ready to face what could be the biggest challenge of his entire racing career. So, can the young and hunger Briton manage to clinch the title next season despite a potential fight from the record-equaling world champion?

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Rohit Kumar

1150 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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