The Daily Mail have reported that after winning only nine races to Lewis Hamilton’s 44, Mercedes are losing faith in Bottas and are looking to sweep in and get 23-year-old Britain George Russell into their ranks alongside Hamilton by 2022.
Bottas has been with Mercedes for five seasons and has failed to really rival or match the feats of Hamilton.
During his time with the team, Bottas has finished third, fifth and second in the Drivers’ Championship, and after a poor race in Portugal that saw him finish in third after he started on pole, a Mercedes engineer, speaking anonymously, stated: “There is some unrest at the factory about Valtteri. He is not up to it, which was made clearer by the job we saw Russell do in Bahrain.”
Although competing and matching Hamilton is almost an impossible task, it’s clear to see that officials at Mercedes expect better from their number two driver, and it seems like their attentions have already turned to a member of their young drive programme.
Russell is currently driving for Williams, but as mentioned above is part of the Mercedes young driver programme and after Hamilton fell ill with Covid at the back end of last season, the Englishman actually stepped in for him at the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain in December.
Not only did he step in for Hamilton, he could have even finished in first if it was not for a puncture and a failed pit-spot. Something that Bottas is struggling to do…
The statement by the engineer shows that all Mercedes eyes are on Russell and the job he is doing in the races in his own car, especially as the threat of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is developing into somewhat of a competition for Mercedes. The former more so than the latter as things stand.
Although it seems that there is uncertainty in the ranks, the final decision rests with team principal Toto Wolff, and he has remained supportive of Bottas saying he has “nothing to prove” with only three rounds out of 23 completed and more twists and turns to come.
But with the growing partnership of Red Bull, there is no question about why they are looking to tie up a winning partnership for the future of Mercedes.