If Not Russell or Bottas, What Options Does Mercedes F1 Have for 2022? Norris, Gasly & More

Published 06/12/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 5, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


Mercedes arguably possess two of the hottest seats on the current F1 grid. The Brackley-based outfit have gone from fighting in the midfield to taking seven back-to-back championships. In the last decade, Red Bull are the only team apart from the Silver Arrows to win the constructor’s championship.

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However, they face a dilemma this season. With Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas running out of contract this season, they need to sort out their driver lineup for 2022. While Mercedes are pushing to re-sign Hamilton for next year, the same can’t be said for Bottas.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 8, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after qualifying in pole position with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas who finished in third position REUTERS/Emilio Morenatti

In addition, George Russell and Esteban Ocon, who are part of Mercedes’ junior driver program, seem most likely to replace Bottas should Mercedes decide to let him go. However, should the Silver Arrows decide to part ways with the Finn, there could be other contenders for that coveted 2022 seat.

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Who else can Mercedes consider to race for them in 2022?

With F1 teams putting more faith in young drivers today, there could be drivers apart from Russell and Ocon in contention. Here are some of those drivers:

1. Pierre Gasly: The Frenchman‘s current contract expires at the end of this season. Since being demoted to AlphaTauri, Gasly has been nothing short of impressive. He became the 109th different race winner last season in Monza, and took his third career podium last Sunday in Baku. Although his goal remains moving back to Red Bull, a move to Mercedes could boost his chances of becoming a world champion.

2. Max Verstappen: If there’s one driver every team would like to have at the moment, it’s the Dutchman. In his sixth season at Red Bull, he finally leads the driver’s championship for the first time in his career. Although his contract expires in 2023, Verstappen could make the move to the Silver Arrows should Red Bull fail this season. However, with the 23-year-old enjoying life at Red Bull, it seems unlikely he’ll make the switch next year.

Could the two McLaren drivers be in contention?

Although McLaren have their driver lineup locked beyond 2022, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo could also be in contention. In just his third season in F1, Norris is leading McLaren’s return to the front of the grid. The Briton is the only driver to score points in all six races this season, which shows his exemplary consistency.

While Norris is in the same age bracket as Russell, Ricciardo is in the same age bracket as Bottas. The Australian has seven race wins and 31 podiums to his name, along with years of experience. Although he’s far from challenging for world titles at the moment, a move to Mercedes could bring him much closer to fulfilling his destiny of being a world champion.

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With the silly season already under way for 2022, Mercedes’ decision is bound to excite fans for next season. Should Mercedes decide to give Russell or Ocon more time before joining them, who looks most likely to take their place in the Silver Arrows?

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Sanket Nair

349 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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