Wolff Weighs In on the Prospects of Russell Replacing Bottas at Mercedes F1 in 2022

Published 06/08/2021, 10:20 AM EDT
SUZUKA, JAPAN – Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff after the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Mercedes have always considered Valtteri Bottas a treasure, despite the Finn underperforming over the years. However, this season, Bottas may have hit rock bottom, as he still swarming amidst the mid-field as opposed to his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who is battling hard for his 7th championship title with the Stuttgart outfit.

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What’s more concerning is that his performances have drastically been falling down, with the latest race Baku, portraying the worst of all.

This takes us to the question of whether Bottas will continue to race for Mercedes until the end of this season.

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Moreover, with George Russell knocking on the doors, there is always the fear of Mercedes bidding adieu to the Finn and replacing him with the Williams driver. Well, Mercedes’ boss, Toto Wolff, opened up that the team is yet to make a decision on Bottas.

What did the Mercedes boss say?

As reported by Motorsport-Total, the Austrian affirmed that Mercedes wouldn’t be unfair to either of their drivers in contract negotiations.

We were always fair with both drivers. At the moment when we had a first tendency. That would also be the case in that case. But we have not yet made that decision,” he said.

(Quotes translated from German using Google)

Bottas is currently grasping onto P6 with 47 points in the bag. Meanwhile, there’s Hamilton, who is partially ruling the grid, having secured 101 points.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during the press conference after qualifying in third position FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The Finn has already had 3 non-scoring races, out of which, 2 are retirements. Hence, neglecting the dismal weekend at Baku and the 2 unfortunate DNFs, Bottas has performed quite well; the Mercedes driver found himself on the podium over the other 3 races and also possesses 2 fastest lap points.

Valtteri has had so much bad luck: Wolff

The Mercedes boss opened up that he feels for Bottas, whose luck has been quite dreadful. Initially, it was the Imola GP, where Bottas struggled under wet conditions, and ultimately perished at the hands of Russell.

Then followed the Monaco GP, where a bolt nut got stuck in his wheel, which meant that the pit crew wasn’t able to change all 4 tires, as Mercedes eventually retired the car.

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Valtteri has had so much bad luck again this year. See Monaco – that you can hardly believe it. That is certainly part of our decision as to what the driver pairing will do next Year concerns,” Wolff said.

Overall, Bottas still has enough time to impress Mercedes, considering the massive race calendar this season. With 17 races left, Bottas could still have a shot at the championship trophy despite the poor start to the season.

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Hence, will Bottas manage to turn things around in his favor? Will he join Max Verstappen and Hamilton for the title fight? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1178 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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