And now, who to support Hamilton?

Toto Wolff confirmed this Saturday in Austria that the 2nd Mercedes seat would be played between its current owner Valtteri Bottas and the hopeful George Russell.

Published on 03/07/2021 à 14:56

Julien BILLIOTTE

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And now, who to support Hamilton?

Toto Wolff will decide between Bottas and Russell in the coming weeks / © DPPI

The renewal of the contract Lewis Hamilton, it's done. Toto wolff can now focus on the driver who will support the seven-time world champion beyond the current season. 

In the paddock of Red Bull Ring, under a hot dodger, the Austrian manager first returned to the circumstances of the Englishman's contract renewal for two additional seasons.

« We printed the contract last night, we signed it, and we said to ourselves that we were going to announce it today, confided a visibly serene Wolff. 

The broad outlines of the agreement had already been clear in our minds for a while. We are engaged in an intense championship, which is why the announcement came so quickly ». 

Very quickly, Wolff was questioned about the 2nd seat Mercedes and the identity of its occupant from the 2022 campaign. The team principal, CEO, and co-shareholder of the Mercedes team did not speak on the subject but confirmed that the list of candidates only included two names, already known for a long time.

« We want to wait for the next races before deciding, Wolff said. Valtteri (Bottas, Hamilton's current teammate since 2017, Editor's note) had a very good performance in Austria last week. He needs to consolidate that. 

We know his value, just like we know George's strengths and weaknesses (Russell, pilot Williams and protected Mercedes, Editor’s note). 

We will make the decision during the summer. We will have discussions with George and Valtteri and I hope we will have resolved the issue before the end of the season.

It was clear that we wanted to continue with Lewis for a long time. It was an obvious choice. We can now focus on the 2nd seat, which will be played between these two (Bottas and Russell, Editor’s note). Like I said, we know what they both can bring to the team ».

Last week, Wolff said Hamilton had no say, or veto, over his teammate. “ Lewis doesn't pay attention to who's driving the other car to be motivated », added the main team this Saturday.  

So, who will win? The faithful but harmless Bottas or the young and ambitious, if a little green, Russell? If we had to place a coin today, we would be tempted to place it on the 2nd option. 

Julien BILLIOTTE

AUTOhebdo deputy editor-in-chief. The feather dipped in gall.

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