The final stretch of the Formula 1 season began in Belgium. Gone are the talks that usually occur between teams and drivers during the break. Now, the focus is on a pass market that already released a seat (that of Kimi Raikkonen in Alfa Romeo) and that has George Russell as a great protagonist.
Since last year, when he took the place of Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, in the paddock There is only talk of the possibility that Mercedes will finally decide to stay with the 23-year-old English driver who achieved the second best time on the difficult track of Spa-Francorchamps last week.
“Yeah I know where I’ll be driving next year“Alerted Russell in the preview of the Netherlands Grand Prix.” (They told me) verbally, before Spa. Like I said, I’m not going to sit here and lie without telling the truth; the truth is that there is nothing to announce, but as I said, I am aware of the situation of where I will compete next year and they informed me just before Spa “, he reinforced before the watchful eye of Lando Norris, his companion in the contact with the press on Thursday.
While he was recounting that, Hamilton – who until now had tried to stay out of it but always supporting Bottas – filled him with praise: “He is the future. He is one of the members of the future of sport. I think he has already shown incredible driving so far, and I’m sure he will continue to grow, so what better place to do it than in a great team like this, or whatever team he goes to? “
Far from worrying, Bottas also told accredited journalists at the Zandvoort circuit that “things are going in the right direction” and that he is “happy and excited”. “A multi-year contract would be fine, that’s something I’ve never had before in Formula 1. That way you can definitely give a good overall commitment to the team, not just for that year,” observed who has been in the team for five years. German team. Will you find those conditions at Alfa Romeo?
Where will it go? Bottas came from Williams to Mercedes and could return there, although Raikkonen’s retirement opened up the possibility of moving to Alfa Romeo. Photo ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP
It is that the departure of Raikkonen opened that door to the Finn, who seemed destined to return to Williams in the event of a castling with Russell. “I still have a few years left in Formula 1, so I really want to continue. It must be challenging, it must be exciting, it must be fun and an environment that I really enjoy working in, “he remarked.
If these moves materialize, Max Verstappen believes Russell will make life “very difficult” for Hamilton. “He got in the car in Bahrain and basically already from lap 1 he was making it very difficult for Valtteri, so you can only imagine how much more experience you get in that car and the more you get used to within the team, naturally you are going to be every faster time, “he opined.
The Dutchman, England’s biggest rival for the title this year, also noted that Russell had “a very good performance” at Spa last Saturday. “You could see that they prepared the car for wet conditions. However, doing that on a Williams was very impressive. So yeah, I hope you do very well if you get that seat, “he wished.
No news on the Dutch beaches, it is believed that Mercedes announcement will arrive during the Italian Grand Prix, next week in Monza. Although what happens with the champion team is not the only thing that interests in a transfer market that awaits other news.
The chair game
Insured places. Alonso, Ocon, Pérez, Verstappen and Sainz already have their seats for 2022. Photo FERENC ISZA / AFP
Raikkonen’s retirement from Formula 1 freed up a seat in the 2022 season. While Alpine confirmed Fernando Alonso as Esteban Ocon’s teammate last week, there are other drivers waiting for his renewals, while several are struggling to return to the Big circus in that free seat.
In that first group is Mick Schumacher, who hinted in the last hours that an extended agreement with Haas is close. “Obviously we are reaching the final stages to confirm everything and I’m pretty sure things will look a lot brighter next year. The plan is to stay. Obviously we haven’t signed anything so we have to make sure we get to that point in the next few weeks, “he told Sky F1 ahead of the Belgian GP.