George Russell relaxed about Mercedes wait as he addresses contract uncertainty
F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season
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Williams driver George Russell reckons he’s in a positive position heading into 2022, despite being a free agent come the end of the year in Formula One.
The Mercedes junior driver is finishing a three-year stint at Williams, with his contract expiring at the end of the 2021 season, yet has been heavily linked to a seat at Mercedes in the future.
But for that to happen, either Valtteri Bottas or Lewis Hamilton would have to be axed by the seven-time world champions to free up a seat.
Bottas insisted on Wednesday during his press conference ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that he’s hardly thought about contract negotiations with Mercedes, but admitted that it’s preferable to put pen to paper on a new contract sooner rather than later.
“Honestly it’s always better earlier, I’ve had contracts earlier, I’ve had contracts too late, it almost becomes a distraction,” explained the 31-year-old.
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“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it yet. And that’s an honest answer.
“I’m really just focusing on these races now and that moment when we start to talk, it will come eventually for sure my future, yes.
“I think [the] August break is normally a good deadline, but to be honest I don’t want to think about it yet, I just want to win races – that’s the only thing on my mind at the moment.”
Yet Russell was adamant that he was not worried about his uncertain future in the championship.
“I definitely think in the position I am currently, being a free agent as such going into next year is a good position to be in,” Russell said on Wednesday.
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“But at the same time, stability and longevity is important – I think it’s so clear with people moving around recently how difficult it is to jump in and adapt to a new team.
“So wherever I find myself next year, let’s say, I’d like it to be for at least a couple of years, because that’s so important to have that consistency to be able to grow and progress.”
Another young driver on the grid, Lando Norris, was this week rewarded for his impressive growth with a new multi-year contract to extend his stay at McLaren to at least 2023, something Russell was pleased about.
He said: “[I’m] really happy for Lando, he deserves it. He’s been doing a fantastic job recently and McLaren as a package with Lando are doing extraordinary.
“It’ll be interesting next year, I think they could be a real threat to the top teams and for the championship.”
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