Rosberg on Hamilton Russell Pairing at Mercedes F1 – “It Was a Difficult Decision for Toto, Because the Risk Is Quite High”

Published 12/18/2021, 1:21 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2021 Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the team principals press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES


At the end of the 2016 season, Mercedes managed to heave a sigh of relief. World champion Nico Rosberg and his rival, Lewis Hamilton, were too much to handle for the entire team.

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The Brackley outfit had to bring in team orders to control the on-track madness that was happening, not once but way too often. However, even the generally effective team orders couldn’t keep the duo away from each other at one point. Hence, all Mercedes could do was hope from thereon.

After the unexpected retirement of Rosberg in December 2016, the team roped in a rather calm Valtteri Bottas, who was eventually given the role of a wingman for Hamilton. Consequently, what followed was a peaceful 5-year period for Mercedes.

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But could they end up going back to square one with George Russell?

Rosberg fears a repeat of 2016 for Mercedes

As reported by Planet F1, Rosberg opined that Mercedes could well find themselves under immense pressure again after the signing of George Russell. The young Briton had been in incredible form in the 2021 season.

Hence, if he could carry that level of performance into 2022 with a much superior Mercedes car and challenge Hamilton, the team is in for an intense 2022 F1 season; the 7-time world champion will spare no quarter, especially after a season where he lost to another young driver, Max Verstappen.

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)

It was a difficult decision for Toto, because the risk is quite high. If George is really on exactly the same pace as Lewis, it could become really intense in the team,” he told Sky Sports.

There are a lot of unknowns there, is George always going to back out, or is he going to get his elbows out? That’s just going to be so great to watch.

Ugliest Moments in Hamilton-Rosberg Rivalry

Bahrain set to decide the lead driver?

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On paper, there is no denying that Hamilton will be leading the team going into the 2022 season. But when it comes to performance, Russell is no stranger either and is very well capable of leading as the number 1 driver; his commendable performance at Williams proves it too. So, will Bahrain reveal the verdict? Very likely.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – Second place qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Sakhir at Bahrain International Circuit in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Hamilton will be wary of Russell at the season-opener, considering the latter’s one-off show at Sakhir GP last season. The Briton almost won his first race as a Mercedes driver even before he officially became one.

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Hence, could Russell pull off similar performances to take control of the championship against Hamilton? Meanwhile, is Toto Wolff going to have his hands full yet again? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1656 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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