Report: Valtteri Bottas on Standby at Mercedes F1 Amid Lewis Hamilton’s Potential Retirement

Published 12/19/2021, 11:34 AM EST
Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 5, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is seen as the session is temporarily stopped Pool via REUTERS/Andrej Isakovic


Toto Wolff had the world worried when he shared his concerns about Lewis Hamilton leaving the sport. However, it may have been a genuine concern on the team principal’s part. Although Hamilton may have lost faith in the sport after what happened in Abu Dhabi, it was considered highly unlikely that the legend will leave the sport. However, recent developments increase that jarring probability.

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In a recent report by Motorsport.com, Lewis Hamilton is actually on the fence about his career in F1. Now, if this highly unfortunate decision goes through, a Mercedes seat will open up; this would once again open the driver’s market.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position with Lewis Hamilton Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Guasco

There are two safe and impressive candidates for Mercedes- the trusty Valtteri Bottas and Formula E champion Nyck de Vries. Although Bottas has moved to Alfa Romeo, he could be rehired for a year; because, if Hamilton were to announce his retirement, it would put Mercedes in a fix. Bottas presents a safe, reliable option to the team. Additionally, this could put Antonio Giovinazzi back into an F1 seat.

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On the other hand, there’s Nyck de Vries, who has proved his place as a champion and also as Mercedes’ reserve driver. The Dutchman has been a part of the Mercedes team and may even understand the car’s working intricately. Although not a bad option for the team, it would mean two completely new drivers. Risky, but with 2022 bringing in a fresh start, it could be worth it.

Consequences for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Hamilton sat out the FIA gala in protest about what had happened in the last race. Breaking a rule for a rule, Hamilton could be reprimanded and hence penalized for his actions. The new FIA president, Ben Sulayem, has been firm about punishing Hamilton for defying the rules.

This would mean that the FIA would either fine or reprimand the driver. While a fine seems better off, a reprimand would make it Hamilton’s third; putting him at the risk for a 10-place grid penalty in Bahrain in 2022.

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This only rubs salt on Hamilton’s wound, one inflicted by the FIA itself. With the sport seemingly turning on the man who has contributed so much to it, Hamilton’s frustrations are obvious.

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Nonetheless, to see Hamilton hang up his helmet at the cost of a ruling would be unfitting and unfortunate to see. If Hamilton were to leave the sport, it would be with grandeur; with celebrations of a legacy left behind, not the loss of a tight season. Further, it would be disheartening to see the titan walk out the doors without the eighth title in hand. There’s a lot of fight left in Hamilton. Hopefully, we will witness all of it.

Watch this story: 5 F1 Crashes Which Stunned the World

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Shreya Sanjeev

779 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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