Swapping Bottas and George Russell in ’21 Would Be ‘an Interesting Situation’ – Toto Wolff

Published 12/07/2020, 4:20 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and George Russell in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


At the Sakhir Grand Prix, George Russell was in the form of his life in the Mercedes car. There were a couple of whispers that the British youngster could be in the Mercedes seat for good, sometime soon. However, team principal Toto Wolff insists that it won’t be in the 2021 season, as it won’t be practical.

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The younger Briton is currently acting as a super-sub for COVID-afflicted Lewis Hamilton. At the Bahrain Oval, the 22-year-old outperformed new teammate Valtteri Bottas. All throughout the race, he looked like he was in for a surefire victory until a botched pitstop and a puncture ruined his chances.

Looking ahead into the future, Bottas already has a one-year contract extension and will be in the car in 2021. However, the Mercedes team is still negotiating a deal with Hamilton. Admittedly, it is expected that the two parties will continue their relationship.

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Is George Russell a threat to Valtteri Bottas?

Following this race, the two drivers’ comparative performances have prompted a debate over their futures. In essence, should George Russell replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes and partner Lewis Hamilton? Speaking about this possibility, team principal Toto Wolff dismissed such a notion.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell celebrates after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

He insisted that Russell is a Williams driver, and his own line-up consists of Hamilton and Bottas.

He said, “So I don’t see this as a realistic situation at that moment of time [2021].

“But I can understand that it would be an interesting situation, both in the team and maybe a bit of a wild ride for all of us.

“Maybe we’ll have that in the future.”

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It is worth noting that George Russell is a Mercedes junior and is currently on loan to Williams.

“He’s a Williams driver now and they can be proud of what he’s done today. And they will know that his lap times in a Williams are probably the benchmark.

“And now we need to see what the future holds. I haven’t made up my mind now what that means for us.”

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According to Wolff, he and the team had their future in mind when they recruited George Russell to fill in for Hamilton. In essence, this is an acid test for George Russell to see how he performs at the front.

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Dhruv George

11663 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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