2018 Chinese Grand Prix, Sunday - Paul Ripke

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has reportedly told George Russell that he will get a Mercedes seat next season.

The Russell to Mercedes talks have been circulating ever since the Brit drove for the team at the Sakhir GP last season. He impressed in the fastest car on the grid, and crucially, outperformed current driver Valtteri Bottas. With Bottas having a lacklustre season, the links are only getting stronger.

Multiple reports from F1 Insider and Sky Italia have suggested that Mercedes has chosen their driver for next season. The announcement may take place sooner than later.

George Russell could replace Valtteri Bottas before season end - report |  PlanetF1
George Russell (left) might replace Valtteri Bottas (right) at Mercedes. Source: planetf1.com

“Information from F1-Insider.com coincides with that of Sky Italia,” the report said.

“According to this, Mercedes junior George Russell is to replace the Finn Valtteri Bottas in 2022.

“Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is said to have already told the rest of Russell’s management that he should be ready.”

Best for all parties?

Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko, who is in direct competition with Mercedes, believes this move is the right one to make.

“It would be the logical step,” he said.

“You can’t hold it off any longer. Otherwise, the funding no longer makes sense. Even if Hamilton won’t be happy.”

The only one in a spot of bother here would be Bottas. His current season has been widely inconsistent, but this would be a blow to him. If he is actually sent packing by Mercedes, he will find it difficult to secure a seat. That is because so many drivers on the grid have signed multi-year deals with their teams.

But there will most certainly be one for the Finn, and that is the Williams seat Russell will give up if he makes the switch. Bottas started his career at Williams, and Marko suggested he could make a return. He also took the opportunity to dismiss a Bottas signing for Red Bull.

“Bottas doesn’t have to call us. There is no space,” Marko said.

“Actually, I can only imagine a swap with Russell. I think Williams will be the only option for him.”

This driver saga has been raging since last season, and the time for clarity is coming. Will Russell partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes? Or will Mercedes give Bottas one more season to prove himself?

Read more: Valtteri Bottas: An analysis of the various teams he could go to if replaced by George Russell

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