Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas has said his teammate Lewis Hamilton has told him the sporting dynamic duo are not expected to be parted by Mercedes for the 2022 Formula 1 season and beyond.
Speculation is that Williams F1 driver George Russell is set to replace Bottas at Mercedes next year, although Mercedes team manager Toto Wolff says he has yet to make a final decision.
“We have to choose between Valtteri’s stability and George’s talent,” Wolff told German media, contradicting the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “I want the question of the future to be dealt with in September so that both can position themselves properly for the coming season.”
According to Bottas, he has the backing of seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is already under contract with Mercedes for 2022 and 2023. Bottas came from Williams to Mercedes after the 2016 season. He finished in the top five in the standings each season with Mercedes and finalist in 2019 and 2020.
“Yes, Lewis told me directly that he would like me to be his teammate,” Bottas told Finnish media MTV Sport. “Together we can do very well, but it’s a fact that the drivers don’t have a huge impact on these decisions. There is a bigger machine behind that ultimately makes those decisions.”
Bottas says he’s used to the annual uncertainty about his next contract.
“Every year it’s the same story,” he told Iltalehti, the evening newspaper in Helsinki. “You just have to learn to live with it. In this area your skin is thickening on its own. At the moment it’s not clear what will happen and I don’t think there is any news before at least the next two weeks.
Bottas, who is fourth in F1 in the points standings (behind Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris), could either keep his seat at Mercedes, or finish at Alfa Romeo, Williams or Aston Martin. It’s that open side.
“I can’t say who we’re going to talk to and what’s going on, but things are being discussed so we can find the best option for next season,” Bottas said.
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