Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is sure that the George Russell to Mercedes saga is a done deal.
Russell is heavily linked with a move to Mercedes, and looks set to replace Valtteri Bottas, the current second driver at the German team. This may be Russell’s final season at Williams, and he looks ready for the big money move.
Russell has been incredible this season, massively overachieving in the Williams. His qualifying pace is electrifying, and has even gotten into Q3 twice. Marko concurs with the hype around Russell, and is sure he will be driving for Mercedes next season.
Speaking with Motorsport Magazin, Marko said, “His qualifying performances are impressive. But he is a Mercedes man.
“I think it’s done anyway. I’m convinced of it,” he concluded.
Pros and cons
Russell is a highly rated prospect, and many fans have clamoured for him to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. He filled in for him last season at Sakhir when Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19. He dropped jaws and earned the respect of F1 fans when he led for most of the race, and only dropped due to a problem with the car.
With Bottas’ contract on its last few months, the chances of Russell joining have now increased. Marko is among those who think the deal is all but done.
Bottas, meanwhile, hasn’t been offered a contract extension yet. However, there is an outside chance he may be offered one, and if that happens, Russell will have to wait for more time.
That raises the risk of him moving to another team, and Mercedes losing out on their youngster. Therefore, the safe bet for the Mercedes second seat is Russell, because Mercedes have too much to lose if they let him wait.
Marko seems to think it’s done. We will know in the coming months if next season will see Hamilton and Bottas, or the fresh one in Hamilton-Russell.