F1 Pairs Bottas & Russell for Belgian GP Press Conference Amidst the Intense Battle for Mercedes Seat

Published 08/25/2021, 7:02 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during the press conference after qualifying in third position FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Ever since the start of 2021, Thursdays have gotten quite interesting, with F1 opting to pair up two drivers from entirely different teams for the press conferences. There were several interesting pairings over the past few months, including that of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

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And also there was the pairing of Hamilton alongside his former rival, Sebastian Vettel earlier in the season. Now, with the summer break coming to a close, F1 has unveiled the pairings for the Belgian GP press conference, and one of the pairings looks quite tempting.

Potential Mercedes F1 candidates of 2022 together

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Valtteri Bottas’ on-track performance has been going downhill since the start of the 2021 season. And subsequently, Mercedes’ interest in Williams driver, George Russell, has gone up too. The duo has since been battling hard to impress the Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff.

But, clearly, Russell is winning the fight, and could well be a Mercedes man next season. Hence, amidst such an intense battle going on between the two potential candidates as a number 2 driver for the Brackley outfit in 2022, F1 opted to pair the duo up for Thursday’s press conference as Spa.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 18, 2021 Williams’ George Russell being interviewed before the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

Also, Bottas looks well past his interest in Mercedes and is already hunting for other options. The Finn looks fed up with playing the secondary role at Mercedes.

Hence, with better prospects in the lower mid-field pack, Bottas reportedly initiated talks with Alfa Romeo ahead of the summer break.

Will the driver swap work?

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Having been a loyal racing driver for 5 years, Mercedes wouldn’t want to leave Bottas out in the wild. Hence, it is likely that Mercedes will back the Finn into finding a seat elsewhere before shifting the focus onto Russell, who would join the team without much hesitation.

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

After all, it’s Mercedes, a team that has dominated through the hybrid era. Hence, it looks like Bottas will land a seat at Alfa Romeo, most likely replacing Kimi Raikkonen. If the Ferrari-backed outfit opts against clearing a seat for Bottas, well, he does have the option of going back to where he started – Williams.

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And this would mean a proper driver swap between Russell and Bottas. So, the next few weeks could be highly crucial over who ends up where on the grid. But, the focus is now predominantly on Bottas and his potential Mercedes successor, Russell.

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Rohit Kumar

1133 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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