Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Mercedes to choose Hamilton’s team mate “in the summer” – Wolff

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes intend to choose Lewis Hamilton’s team mate for the 2022 F1 season well before the end of this year, team principal Toto Wolff has said.

Earlier today Mercedes announced Hamilton had extended his deal to drive for the team by two years.

“With Lewis we were clear since a while that we wanted to continue so that was obvious for us,” said Wolff, who confirmed Hamilton signed his new deal yesterday night.

Wolff now has to weigh up whether to retain Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s team mate or replace him with Mercedes junior driver George Russell, who currently races for Williams.

“Now we can look at the second seat,” said Wolff. “It’s between those two and we value them both for their strengths and for what they can contribute to the team.”

After this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, F1 has two more races at Silverstone and the Hungaroring before the summer break, when driver contract decisions are often settled. “We always said we want to give it the next few races to gain more clarity,” Wolff explained.

“I’m also happy Valtteri’s racing, in my opinion, in Austria was really good and he needs to consolidate that. But he’s a known factor and in the same way we know the strengths and weaknesses of George.

“That decision is going to be made during the summer and the first discussion is going to be with George and with Valtteri. And then hopefully we are sorted before the end of the season.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “Mercedes to choose Hamilton’s team mate “in the summer” – Wolff”

  1. If I were Toto, I would fire Bottas after Sakhir last year. Or even earlier.
    I think they will leave Bottas in the team for another 2 years.

  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    3rd July 2021, 13:42

    Hammie has Bottas in his pocket, so naturally he wants to keep him. But point-wise, Mercedes should get Russell. Then again they can no longer use their ‘X, this is James..’. Having a clear first and second driver is just a huge advantage.

    1. It should be Miss Daisy the way he’s performing this season, now he doesn’t have a rocket ship he’s looking very average indeed.
      For his legacy he better pray it’s not Russell.

      1. +1.
        We are beginning to see HAM isn’t head and shoulders about the rest when he has to race others.
        He has made a ton of mistakes this season from stress though most are minor.
        The young guys are really good and hungry to boot.
        That doesn’t bode well for HAM especially if the cars are competitive with his.

        1. Correct ans his outright pace looks plain average as well, he’s barely faster than Bottas FFS.
          I’ve been saying this for a while now, several drivers would beat Hamilton now.

  3. They have so much data, on both of them, I can’t believe they’re waiting for any more, surely it’s just keeping Bottas’ morale up, but then in the end being fair giving him enough time to sort something else out.

  4. Lol exactly what are they going to see in VB in the coming races that they haven’t over the last 4+ seasons? If they don’t replace him with GR for next year I will be shocked and it will be laughable.

  5. Why not Valtteri Bottas AND George Russell?

    1. Because they already filled one seat.

      1. They can always make lewis reserve driver or simulation driver. he already tried the latter ;)

  6. If it’s not Russel, it’s probably in Hamilton’s contract.

    1. Yes you are right. Man coming to the end of his career dictates to a multinational, a near billionaire and a multi billionaire who they can employ in their company.

      1. Well we already know that was traditional part of his contract. lets see if i can find the quote 2015 contract i remember

        1. Is that the one where he insisted Rosberg stays despite their issues, otherwise he would leave?

        2. You won’t, because you made that up.

  7. Russel just made Q3 on the medium tyre. In a Williams… That pretty much speaks for itself…

    1. All top 10 cars were with Mercedes or Honda PU. Lando and Russell extremely fast and Mercedes cars P4, P5 – this shows that Mercedes as a car is really slow this year, with a good PU still.

  8. Maybe already by Silverstone or on the Silverstone weekend.

  9. It’s going to be Bottas for 2022 why on earth would it not be? Why would Merc risk a 2022 WDC challenge by having a second driver who will take more points off Hamilton? You don’t see Red Bull doing that….it’s like saying they should be lining up to sign Norris alongside Max…never going to happen.

    I shake my head at the naivety of thought in some people.

    1. @ju88sy Lol so you’re saying GR would beat LH? I think it is naive of you to claim it is just about the WDC and ignore their need for more points from both drivers in order to win the WCC. Merc needs a driver who can put himself up there when LH can’t, and that is not VB. As well, they need an heir apparent to LH, and that is not VB.

      1. @ju88sy
        I shake my head and your naivety thinking that a team would be more interested in the Driver’s Championship than the Constructor’s.

        1. So Ferrari surprises you? They have always historically been a team more interested in the WDC than the WCC.

          1. @jus88y
            You missed the point, maybe read my comment again.
            Your comment implied that Mercedes would put a driver into the second seat to ensure a WDC, but they wouldn’t do that. They will put in a driver that gives them the best shot at the WCC.

        2. The naivety is those who thinks teams prioritize constructors, when we’ve had decades of them prioritizing drivers. Ferrari is well known for this. Of course teams lower down will think finances and therefore team points, but they all want to win drivers, that’s where the glory is and what the sport is ultimately about.

          1. @balue
            Ferrari only really done it when their car was miles ahead in the Schumacher era and in 2008 it was pretty late on in the season when they decided to put their efforts into one driver.
            In Ferrari the tradition has always been that the team is bigger than the driver, with maybe a few exceptions. So I don’t see the evidence for the point you’re making.

      2. @robbie I said nothing of the sort in my post. Just the observation that George and Lewis would take points off each other. On the very big assumption that we see a repeat of this season with two closely matched teams, help me understand why Mercedes as a team would want to be in that position? Securing the Constructors but their drivers finishing 2nd and 3rd in the Drivers championship.

        In terms of number 2 drivers, I don’t think there is much between Perez and Bottas. If Red Bull were out pursuing Norris for their second seat I would change my opinion, but as things stand I reckon Bottas will stay for 2022 and Russell in for 2023.

        1. @ju88sy The number one goal for Mercedes should be to reclaim 1-2 positions ahead of RBR. It’s ok for GR to take points off LH sometimes if they are locking up the front row regularly. This season is evidence of what can happen without a strong pairing. Mercedes also need to be wary that SP has room to improve yet while VB has had so much time it is obvious now he is limited in how much he can help the team, made very clear as soon as such a competitive RBR has come along.

          Let’s of course see how the rest of this season shakes out, but assuming two similarly competitive teams in Mercedes and RBR next year, Mercedes must start off the year assuming they’ll be the better team and able to lock up the front row, until some races have been run and they see the lay of the land, at which point they can decide if GR best not take points away from LH, or what have you.

          This season has been proof they need to strengthen their driver pairing on the team. That means replacing VB.

          1. @robbie I do hope they take GR like most others.

            Bottas has been unlucky this season with the GR crash and the Monaco outs debacle that has cost him a lot of points.

    2. Why would Merc risk a 2022 WDC challenge by having a second driver who will take more points off Hamilton?

      If Hamilton cannot keep Russell behind then I doubt he’ll have a chance at WDC anyway;
      And for the team the WCC is the most important; it can only help them.

    3. @ju88sy Yes that’s what I think as well. I bet they will even use their notorious ‘company values of loyalty’ (meaning loyal to Hamilton) The only slight doubt is that is that there are 3 equal owners now, who might want to see continuity, or even more points in the constructors, but I still bet Wolff will trump them in the end.

    4. The WCC is more important to Merc financially. They would surely rather have a WCC than a WDC.

  10. Penelope Pitstop would be as good a choice as Bottas these days,
    but would she do as she is told?

    Someone (here or there) suggested that Mercedes will stick with what they know is safe until the new rules shake out.
    That makes sense to me.
    They know that Lewis/Bottas is a working team. So with car changes next year why rock the boat even more?

    1. @nullapax There’s that, or what I think is what better time to bring in the heir apparent to LH than when the cars will be completely different and therefore continuity from one season to the next will never be less important. They bring GR in next year to mould him and shape him when the chapter is brand new, with LH mentoring him, and then Mercedes continues a solid future with GR at the helm post-LH.

      1. I don’t think GR needs LH’s mentoring.

        1. Mike you might be right, but I just wonder if they’d like it to be thought of that way so that can still enjoy their love fest ala LH/VB and not have to think of it as a rivalry it as GR ‘rocking the boat.’

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