Lewis Hamilton concedes his “loyalty” to Valtteri Bottas may not be enough to save the Finn’s race seat as that decision belongs to Toto Wolff.
Mercedes are, at least on the face of it, still looking at their 2022 line-up as they try to make the call on who will partner Hamilton next season – Bottas or George Russell.
Motorsport boss Wolff recently implied that even when a decision has been made, fans may have to wait a while for an announcement.
“We will decide very quickly,” he said. “But the announcement [the timing of it] will depend on the circumstances.
“As long as we are transparent with Valtteri and George, we will be able to handle the situation. Because the hardest thing for a driver is not knowing whether or not he will have the seat.”
Bottas and Russell, together in Thursday’s driver press conferences at the Belgian Grand Prix, were asked about their futures with both using the words “no news to share”.
The big debate Mercedes are having, if they are still having it, is whether to stick with continuity or potentially upset the apple cart but give Russell two years to learn as Hamilton’s team-mate.
Hamilton has made it known that he would be happy to continue with Bottas, the duo have won the championship double in every one of their four years together as team-mates.
Speaking to the press at Spa, Hamilton once again gave Bottas his backing but concedes that will have little impact on Mercedes’ decision.
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Valtteri Bottas and George Russell are giving nothing away, but Ralf Schumacher says it would be "incomprehensible" if Mercedes left their driver line-up unchanged next season.https://t.co/UFmFnvRtf2 #F1 pic.twitter.com/i3HaDhTd6k
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) August 26, 2021
“I have obviously been vocal in the past about my loyalty to Valtteri and worked incredibly closely with him,” he said ahead of the Belgian GP weekend. “I think our working relationship is better than ever.
“Toto [Wolff] is a great leader and as I said in the past, we always stay connected. Of course, we talk about these things.
“Naturally, we are part of the same team and we want what is best for the team moving forwards, we want to win more championships so we have conversations.
“At the end of the day, it is down to him and the board at Mercedes to make that decision and I am a part of the team so I support them whichever way they go.
“At the moment, I am just trying to put all my energy into doing the best that I can this season.”