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Mercedes boss confirms Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas face two rivals to 2022 F1 seats

Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff,

Image source: Dan Istitene - Formula 1/ Getty Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has confirmed that both George Russell and Esteban Ocon will be assessed as replacements for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for the 2022 Formula One season. Bottas signed a new deal back in August. While Hamilton signed a new contract with Mercedes last month.

“Esteban [Ocon] is in the second year of a two-year contract with Renault and Alpine F1, and George [Russell] is with Williams this year,” Wolff told La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s weekly F1 magazine Sport Week.

“So we have some options for 2022, but until then our full support goes to Valtteri and Lewis. We will evaluate in the middle of the year whether there will be a change in 2022. It is definitely too early now to talk about scenarios for 2022.”

Wolff has previously confirmed that Mercedes will first hold discussions with their current driver line-up before thinking how they could possibly mix it up for 2022.

“I think Lewis needs to decide what his future holds for him,” the Austrian chief said after Hamilton’s new deal. “That is why I wouldn’t want to comment on where Lewis stands and, on the other side, the team needs to decide long-term what we are going to do about drivers.

“Valtteri and Lewis have our 100 per cent commitment for 2021. We will support them with everything we have and we will then look beyond this year and say ‘What is the line-up that we imagine in 2022 and onwards?’.

“Our first discussions are going to be with Valtteri and Lewis in respecting our values of loyalty and integrity. But on the other side, the young drivers are the future and therefore we need to consider how we want to set ourselves up for the years beyond.

“As long as he enjoys racing, I think he’s very capable of going longer. He develops as a driver he looks after himself in terms of physical training and mental preparation. So I don’t think in terms of ability that ends in 2021. But at the end it’s his decision.”

Source: Express

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