Well, the F1 community is under the assumption that Russell could be an enormous threat to Bottas and his chances of staying with Mercedes if he manages to finish ahead of the Finn in Bahrain.
However, Toto Wolff denied such showdowns from taking place between the two. He added that Mercedes will not bring Russell into Mercedes by evaluating his performance in a single race and clarified that Russell’s dream is still “far away.”
“No, not at all. I’ve heard this rumour,” he said. “And obviously you can’t call it a shoot-out when it’s about one or two races. That doesn’t give you any meaningful data whatsoever.”
The Mercedes junior driver replaced a COVID-19-hit Lewis Hamilton for the race weekend in Bahrain. The expectations are unsurprisingly high from the young Briton, and he has so far lived up to the expectations.
He topped the timesheet in both FP1 and FP2 and is looking keen on maintaining the dream run through qualifying and, hopefully, the race as well.
Mercedes have been known to back their drivers, and that is precisely what Toto mentioned too. Apparently, the Silver Arrows are still keeping their trust in Bottas.
“There is no shootout. We have total trust in Valtteri and loyalty, as we’ve always had. And that is our position,” Toto clarified.
However, in the process, he did hint at possible good news for Russell in the future if he keeps churning out similar good results.
“If George does well, it’s an indication that one day he’s going to be in a good car and hopefully race for victories and World Championships,” he said.
“But that is far away. He knows that. He just needs to do a solid job, not make any mistakes, and continue what he has done.”
It was quite impressive to see Russell dominate the practice sessions, despite driving a car not built for a driver of his height. Hence, going into Saturday, Russell will hold the upper hand in qualifying. The question is, will Russell secure his first pole position and ultimately his first race win in Formula 1 this weekend?