George Russell: Bottas ‘shares have collapsed’ with Lewis Hamilton tipped for new teammate
George Russell 'gutted' to miss out on Sakhir GP victory
George Russell has been tipped to become Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas disappointing when the two went head-to-head in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell looked on course to win on two separate occasions before a pit stop error cost him victory.
Bottas is contracted for 2021 but after the race, his stock was at an all-time low.
Russell, 22, who drives for Williams outshone his team-mate for the weekend and is now a strong contender to partner Hamilton in the future.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has insisted Bottas will be the team-mate to Lewis Hamilton next season.
But Finnish F1 journalist Jyrki Jarvilehto thinks his countryman’s days are numbered in the sport.
“Bottas shares have collapsed,” he explained. “It is pointless to explain this result.
“George Russell is the future choice of Mercedes.”
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He added: “Again a bad start from Valtteri, and no fight against Russell after that. This cannot be justified in any way.
“Today Russell was simply the better guy.”
Russell has also been backed to move to Mercedes for what he has done at Williams in the slowest car on the grid.
“The man has been putting in great performances with Williams’ scrap for two seasons,” he said. “He is insanely talented.
“A driver like him should drive in a top team.”
Former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld has echoed them thoughts and thinks Russell is very likely to replace Bottas.
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“Bottas’ market value is now in free fall,” Heidfeld told Sky Deutschland.
“After a weekend like that, I wouldn’t surprised if he lost his seat.”
F1 returns in March with pre-season testing before the Australian Grand Prix gets the new year underway on Sunday, March 21.
Meanwhile, Williams chief Dave Robson has opened up on some information Russell has given the team on his return.
“It’s something he’s mentioned,” he explained.
“He did a particularly good start [in the Mercedes] and he has had some good starts in our car, but I think what we are lacking is the consistency.
“It’s probably as much down to what they do on their car than it is the driver.
“So he’s got some ideas, particularly about how he might like to change the clutch paddle, so the sort of ergonomics of what they do. That’s something we can look at over the winter.
“I think probably the whole drivetrain systems are a bit too different, but what tends to be more interesting is the tyre preparation and how you understand the grip you’re going to have at the start and therefore what the clutch target is.
“There’s probably something for us to learn about there, I think.”
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