New Mercedes driver George Russell hailed Mercedes’ loyalty to recent departure Valtteri Bottas, saying that they stood by him for the highs and the lows.
Bottas left Mercedes for Alfa Romeo after a five-year association with the team. He won ten races in their car, including the 2021 Turkish GP, and was a success with the team.
However, he had quite some lows with the Brackley outfit. The 2021 season saw certain stages where he was far from his best. Many called for him to get the axe, but Mercedes persisted with him and reaped the rewards for their patience with a resurgent Finn in the second half.
Throughout his tenure with the team, they have backed him no matter what. As a result, Russell hailed Mercedes’ loyalty to Bottas and said that such behaviour was very encouraging for drivers.
“What I admire so much from Mercedes and Toto (Wolff, team principal) is how loyal they are to their own,” Russell told the Motor Sport Magazine Podcast, as quoted by Racingnews365.com.
“Valtteri has been such a key figure, and key driver for them to help them achieve all of these World Championships along the way. There’s a lot of people (who) can say some negative things, or (say things about him) being off the pace of Lewis Hamilton.
“But he’s been an incredibly important part to all of that success, and they want to reward that loyalty. And maybe if he went through one or two bad races throughout last year, they’re not just going to get the axe out and say, ‘Thank you very much, and see you later’.
“Because that’s not how they do things. They give people the full opportunity, and the full chance.”
“I’m a 23-year-old. From their side, there’s no need to rush. We’ve got the whole future ahead,” he continued.
“I guess that loyalty brings faith to me as a driver, equally to the 2000 employees that Mercedes have between Brackley and Brixworth.
“If I work hard and I perform the goods, they are going to reward me with that loyalty, and I don’t have to have any concerns about my job or my future. You probably go ahead and perform even better.”