‘George is very quick and he can’t stay where he is forever’: Max Verstappen backs Russell to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes for 2022 as young Brit continues to shine at Williams
- Valtteri Bottas’ contract at Mercedes runs out at the end of the 2021 season
- The Finnish driver is expected to be replaced by Williams’ George Russell
- The 23-year-old could bring a stronger challenge to champion Lewis Hamilton
- The Brit’s title rival believes Russell deserves to suit up in Mercedes gear
Max Verstappen has revealed he rates George Russell ‘very highly’ and backs the British driver to line up alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season.
The Dutchman has reset, recharged and touched down in Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, preparing to restart his championship fight with Hamilton following the summer break.
While the duo fight out this season’s title the 2022 Mercedes line-up remains under the spotlight. The Germans’ No 2 Valtteri Bottas is out of contract after this year and the Finn’s shortcomings have been exposed at a crossroads in his career.
George Russell is vying to replace Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas at the world champion team
Bottas has zero wins and even lags behind McLaren’s Lando Norris in the driver’s standings, while former F2 champion Russell continues to over-achieve in his Williams. If he were Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, Verstappen knows who he’d pick.
‘George is very quick and he can’t stay where he is forever. I think he deserves more,’ the Dutchman said.
‘At the end of the day, it is up to Mercedes to make the call, so not really from my side but, for sure, I rate him very highly as a driver.
‘And he is of course very young as well, so it is natural the younger guys, at some point, move up and especially the good drivers.’
Verstappen is locked in a title battle with Lewis Hamilton, who could partner Russell in 2022
Russell has been staying patient futher down the grid with Williams, waiting to move up
Charles Leclerc also has backed the British driver ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix this week
Russell has remained coy when pressed on his future this season, but some knowing looks and beaming smiles have hinted Wolff is set to pick youth over experience.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc also weighed in on the hottest seat in F1 right now.
‘I think it is great if George gets that seat because he deserves it,’ the Monegasque star said.
‘It is always very difficult to judge in Formula 1 because the cars are so different and obviously, with George being at Williams it is always difficult to judge how much of a good job he is doing.
‘But he is consistently there and showing good things and also in the past I have raced with him and I know how strong he is.
‘So he definitely deserves that spot and I think it will be great to have such a talented driver in that seat.’
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