“Information from F1-Insider.com coincides with that of Sky Italia,” said the German site.
“According to this, Mercedes junior George Russell is to replace the Finn Valtteri Bottas in 2022.
“Mercedes team boss Dr. Toto Wolff is said to have already told Russell’s management – i.e. himself – that he should be ready.”
The British driver has been part of Mercedes’ junior programme since 2017 and has impressed by out-performing his car at the back of the grid.
Helmut Marko – head of driver development at rivals Red Bull – says the expected move makes sense.
“Bottas doesn’t have to call us. There is no space. I can only imagine a swap with Russell. I think Williams will be the only option for him.”
Multiple drivers, including Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, are already signed up at their teams for next year. Ferrari, McLaren and Haas all have both their current drivers signed up for 2022.
Russell Has Mercedes Experience
Russell stepped in for Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix after the seven-time World Champion contracted Covid-19.
He performed well, qualifying second behind Bottas and looked on course for a famous result after taking the lead, before a series of pit stop disasters ruined both Mercedes drivers’ chances. Russell eventually finished ninth, at least picking up his first ever points in F1.
Bottas has endured a miserable season so far and is only sixth in the championship standings with 47 points – 58 points behind leader Verstappen.
Despite three podium finishes this year, he endured a horrible weekend in Baku last time out, finishing a lowly 12th. Bottas has also suffered two retirements, although neither were his fault.
Russell and Bottas were involved in a 200mph crash at Imola, which led to an angry confrontation between the pair. Despite claiming the Finn had tried to kill him, Russell later apologised to Bottas, Mercedes and Williams.
Bottas also suffered retirement in Monaco while running second behind Verstappen, with his pit crew unable to remove his right front tyre.News Now - Sport News