Toto Wolff Stuck Between ‘Stability’ and ‘Talent’ as He Postpones Russell vs Bottas Decision

Published 08/22/2021, 8:52 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff looks on in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


As the season’s resumption is close by, people wait eagerly for a statement by Toto Wolff. After promising a decision by the end of the break, the Mercedes boss has people’s attention on the second seat. However, after a long time of silence from the Mercedes HQ, Wolff torments us by postponing the announcement for a few more days.

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A week to go for the Belgian GP, and we have no news on the Mercedes lineup. While most want an all- Brit lineup with George Russell, others argue Bottas is Hamilton’s perfect right-hand man.

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell in action during the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Toto Wolff is in two minds. He explained the reason behind the extension, “We have to choose between Valtteri’s stability and George’s talent, projected towards the future. I want the whole issue to be addressed in September so that both of them can position themselves properly for next season.”

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While Russell will have to stay in the Grove outfit if he is denied the seat, Bottas has a lot of options. If this is a last season with the Silver Arrows, Bottas has options in AlfaRomeo and Williams. But will it compare to being in the top car of the grid?

The dilemma facing Toto Wolff

George Russell seems likely to get the seat but, it’s possible that Bottas will hold on to it. It’s not only Toto who is confused, the entire situation can go both ways.

If Russell gets the seat, Wolff deviates from the pragmatic approach he had relied on the past few years. The Mercedes junior driver is a special talent, but working with him would be a foreign experience. His test in Sakhir last year showed that if given the opportunity, he will only stand out from the grid.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell in action during practice Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu

There’s no real reason for Russell to be denied the better seat. His racecraft has only been improving. This season, Mr. Saturday has pushed his Williams to Q2 on all but one occasion and even made it to Q3 in Austria and Silverstone. Additionally, the recent points-finish in Hungary is fresh in everyone’s minds.

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On the contrary, Bottas hasn’t had the best season. As a second driver, he has assisted Lewis towards many wins this season but has none to claim for himself. His race at Hungary ended with him ramming into multiple cars on the first exit. A small mistake, for the Finn, will the consequences be heavy?

Another important question on the line, if not now, when? George Russell seems to be the man for the job, and if Hamilton leaves the sport after his contract expires in 2024, Mercedes needs another star in the primary seat.

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All questions will find their answers when Toto Wolff decides its time.

Watch this story: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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Shreya Sanjeev

340 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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