Russell expects 2022 clarity by ‘middle of this year’

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas and George Russell

Valtteri Bottas and George Russell

George Russell is hoping to know by mid-season whether he’s stepping up to Mercedes next year, but adds that “no promises” have been made.

Russell is believed to be first in line to join Mercedes next season, but that’s only if the team opts not to continue with Valtteri Bottas.

Should Lewis Hamilton retire, then reports claim it could be Max Verstappen who gets the seat despite his contract with Red Bull.

Russell is hoping for some clarity mid-season.

“Right now my head is completely with this team, with Williams,” he told Marca.

“By the middle of the year we should have an idea of how things will go for me.

“I am concentrating on my work and progressing and then at some point my opportunity will come.

“But there are no promises for 2022.”

Both Hamilton and Bottas have one-year deals in place for the 2021 season with the seven-time World Champion said to be “grumpy” with how his contract talks with motorsport boss Toto Wolff played out, according to Sky F1’s Martin Brundle.

George Russell

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Russell has had a taste of what it is like to race for a front-running team, the Williams driver called up to replace Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell qualified a career best P2 and was on course to win the race before Mercedes botched the pit stops and dropped him down the order. He put in a fantastic recovery drive only for a puncture to put an end to that.

He finished ninth that Sunday, scoring his first-ever World Championship points.

Russell feels swapping teams for 2022 is the “right time” to change as Formula 1 will be racing all-new cars with a host of new aerodynamic regulations in play.

He added: “It can be argued that 2022 would be the right time for a change, but as I say, it is not for me to decide.

“If there is an opportunity like the one there was in Bahrain last year, of course I will seize it with both hands.

“Toto told me that I am part of the future at Mercedes and I take his words at face value.”

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