F1 Drivers Don’t ‘Normally’ Pick Teammates, Unsure About Mercedes: Alonso

Published 07/09/2021, 2:08 PM EDT
AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 18, 2018 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Over the last week, all eyes have been on Mercedes’ second seat. Tensions have reached an all-time high as people keep wondering who Hamilton will be paired with. Will it be good ol’ Valtteri-who’s proven to be a reliable second driver? Or will it be George Russell, a rising star with championship potential? Though the world wonders, double world champion Fernando Alonso could not care less.

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The word on the street is that Hamilton wants to stick with Valtteri Bottas. But Alonso argues one does not get to choose their teammate in the sport. “As a driver, normally you never have the option of choosing your teammate. You race for your team and they always choose the teammate they think is appropriate for the good of the team and you have to accept it.”

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas after finishing second and third respectively REUTERS/Darko Vojinovic

Alonso recognizes things may be different at Mercedes. It’s no secret that Toto Wolff is extremely close to his star player Hamilton. Alonso states, “But I don’t know the situation they have within Mercedes, or what agreements they have.” Toto wants to promote Russell but if Hamilton pushes for Bottas, will he fold?

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Bottas or Russell- who is the better option for Mercedes?

After the Hamilton-Rosberg era, Mercedes needed someone reliable, who could ease the tensions of the previous three years. Valtteri did that. But it would be unfair to reduce his role to the team as just reliable. Valtteri is fast on his good days. The Fin blossomed as a driver with Mercedes, with 9 wins with the team.

However, the 2021 season has been tainted with disappointments so far. He’s currently sixth on the driver’s standings, behind both RedBull drivers. This could be something Mercedes can’t afford right now, considering the immense pressure on them thanks to Max Verstappen.

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What could George bring to Mercedes if they were to switch drivers? Russell’s talent was on display for the world to see when he subbed Lewis in Sakhir. it would be foolish for anyone to think that he wouldn’t do a good job at Mercedes. Additionally, their current competition is a young, upcoming driver. Bringing in someone like George could help Mercedes find some footing in the championship.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

However, Bottas doesn’t get half the respect he deserves. He’s in a team where Lewis is the man and has been put second. Most of the problems he faced this season were of no fault of his own. At the same time, Russell gives Mercedes the path to a very different future. At the end of the day, we just have to wait for Toto Wolff to pick the driver who he thinks is best suited for Lewis and the Silver Arrows.

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Shreya Sanjeev

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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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