Lewis Hamilton, despite retirement rumours, is expected to stay with Mercedes beyond 2021. Team principal Toto Wolff has to make the hard call whether to axe Valtteri Bottas and go for George Russell or go with the flow and stick with the current setup.
There will be rising speculation regarding the second seat with the Silver Arrows. However, former F1 driver Paul di Resta seems to believe that Hamilton will play a crucial role in deciding who his partner will be in the upcoming season.
Hamilton’s contract ends after this season. But Mercedes is keen on continuing the contract beyond 2021. This leaves the question of the second seat with Mercedes.
Bottas has failed to perform as compared to his partner over the last few years and Wolff is reportedly wanting to switch things.
George Russell had substituted for Lewis Hamilton during the Sakhir Grand Prix last season and impressed everyone with his performance.
However, Di Resta seems to think that Hamilton will want to continue with how things are going on right now.
“Yes, George is ambitious. Yes, he’s probably the future of Mercedes Benz. But that’s where the decision becomes incredibly hard for Toto,” Di Resta told Sky Sports F1.
“I’m sure Lewis doesn’t want the foundations of that team to change because it’s won world championships, it’s won constructors’ Championships, for a very good reason.
“And when you see the performance of Hamilton on a day like today, if you’ve got anything that’s gonna doubt that do you take that away?
“I think Lewis if he’s wise, will probably give Valtteri a lot of support, and show the team that he is a team player, absolutely a team player.”
Hamilton currently has an eight point lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship after his Sunday victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came in second followed by Valtteri Bottas in third.
Wolff was asked about when his driver line-up for 2022 will be clear, to which he had a peculiar reply.
“I hope one day I wake up and it becomes clear,” the Austrian explained.
“I think we need to look into the season, how the next races unfold, and then it is a judgment call, I believe. Not a very scientific response, but I haven’t got any at the moment.”
When the team principal was asked if Hamilton will continue beyond 2021, he confirmed that he will.
Wolff said: “Yes, there is no reason why not.
“It’s the best place to be. He has been with us a long time and I think as long as we can provide the outlook for a competitive package, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be together and continue the marriage.”
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