F1: Hamilton admits new Mercedes car has less downforce
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Both George Russell and Valtteri Bottas have remained tight-lipped on their future ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. One of them will partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022, but it has yet to be announced if Williams starlet Russell will replace the Finn at the Brackley-based team.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said earlier this week he was hoping a decision would be made by before the F1 season resumes at Spa-Francorchamps.
However, with the race weekend due to get under way with practice sessions tomorrow, we are no closer to finding out who will fill that second seat in 2022.
Wolff has said he will be holding talks with both men, and set himself the deadline of having the situation resolved in the next few weeks.
In the press conference prior to this weekend’s Grand Prix, both Russell and Bottas were vague in their responses when asked for an update.
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“Maybe I know more, maybe not,” said the Finn cryptically. “In any case, I can’t share any news.”
Russell added: “There is nothing to announce this weekend and probably not next weekend either. But that’s not a problem. Let’s do things right rather than rushing.”
Hamilton signed a new two-deal deal with Mercedes earlier this summer, and continues to wait to find out who he will be sharing a pit garage with next season.
The seven-time world champion has made little attempt to hide his desire for his fruitful partnership with Bottas to continue, and has said on numerous occasions the Finn is “my best team-mate overall”.
“I think [Bottas] is a fantastic team-mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change,” he told reporters in June.
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The following month he added: “If I’m honest, I feel like at the moment we have the combination that is the best in terms of balancing the team and knowing how to develop our car.”
And Bottas told MTV Sport in his native Finland: “Lewis has told me quite directly that he would like me to be his teammate. Together we can do very well. The fact is, drivers can’t make a terrible impact on it.
“Yes, there’s a bigger machine behind it that ultimately makes those decisions.”
It all comes down to whether Wolff and the Daimler board at Mercedes decide the time is right for change, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen breathing down Hamilton’s neck in the title race.
As one of the stand-out youngsters in the sport, Russell is tipped to do great things behind the wheel of the right car.
If they put him alongside Hamilton on the grid, Mercedes will have an all-British, all-star lineup to challenge in 2022.
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