The next few weeks will show whether George Russell or Valtteri Bottas will get the second spot at Mercedes. Speculation is increasingly pointing in the direction of the young Brit.
The fans do not have to wait much longer for a decision regarding Mercedes’ choice for next year, because Toto Wolff announced last weekend that they had already decided on a driver for quite some time. With a second place at the Belgian GP for Russell in the Williams, the air is getting thinner and thinner for the Finn.
A number of drivers are also hoping for a team switch from Russell to Mercedes, including Nicholas Latifi and Charles Leclerc.
Before the race at Zandvoort, Leclerc said Russell was “special” and that he hoped the latter would get the Mercedes seat.
“I’ve actually been teammates with George. It was a long time ago in karting… and I think what I’ve seen of him since that time is that he’s just extremely talented, and every time he got into the kart back then, or the car now, he’s just quick straight away. So, his talent makes him special.
“If he goes to Mercedes next year – and I hope he does because I think he deserves a chance there – I’m pretty sure that he will perform very, very well and impress more than one person.”
After Kimi Raikkonen announced his retirement from F1 yesterday, speculation grew that Bottas would go to Alfa Romeo and Russell to the world champion team.
His current teammate Nicholas Latifi said there was more to Russell than just being “Mr. Saturday” and that he has long shown up as a talented driver.
“Being teammates with him currently, and in recent times, I know first-hand exactly how quick he is. I think to the public, the Saturday performances are quite stand-out, and I obviously see from behind the scenes on the data how quick he is exactly in those scenarios.
“But I think besides the actual raw speed he has, his ability to always put everything together on that crucial moment, that lap that counts, is very impressive.
“Even besides the ‘Mr. Saturday’ tag, there’s a lot of things outside of qualifying,” added Latifi. “Managing little details in the race and a lot of peripheral things he’s very, very strong at. It’s quite impressive.
“I think if he does go to Mercedes, we already saw what he was capable of doing last year in Bahrain [when he replaced Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix], so I have no doubts he’ll be on the pace straight away.”