Hamilton not trying to ‘influence’ team-mate decision

Date published: July 26 2021 - Michelle Foster

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton is not trying to sway Mercedes driver decision, and that is he “okay” whether it is Valtteri Bottas or George Russell.

While Hamilton signed a new two-year deal earlier this year, committing to Mercedes until the end of 2023, his team-mate for next season has yet to be decided.

Amidst growing speculation that Bottas is out and Russell is in, Wolff has kept his cards close to his chest.

The Mercedes motorsport boss, who was full of praise for Bottas’ efforts at the British Grand Prix which helped Hamilton take the win, has said a decision will be made during the summer break.

“We have to put our heads together in Brackley and discuss the matter with Mercedes in order to work out what our future driver pairing should look like,” he told Motorsport-Total.com.

“We will come together over the summer, reach a decision then decide how we want to communicate this.”

But which way he is leaning, he isn’t saying.

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Valtteri Bottas explains to Lewis Hamilton

For every pundit that has advised the team to go with Russell, another says Bottas is the better option as there will be less conflict.

Former F1 driver turned pundit Giedo van der Garde recently told Ziggo Sport that he doesn’t think “Russell will end up at Mercedes as long as Hamilton is still there” while David Coulthard warned his compatriot that Russell’s “I don’t care who you are” attitude could cause conflict.

Wolff, though, insists Hamilton does not mind which of the two he choices for Mercedes second seat.

“Lewis is okay with both scenarios,” said the Austrian, “and he understands the pros and cons that speak for Valtteri and George.

“Lewis has never tried to influence the decision and he has no preference as to who should be in the car.

“He likes the relationship with Valtteri, and we know it too. But he never said that he would like this or that best.”

Hamilton recently gave Bottas his vote of confidence, calling him “a great team-mate”.

He added: “To be honest, I feel like that we currently have the pairing that delivers best when it comes to balance in the team and the knowledge of how we can develop our car.”