Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Mercedes could announce George Russell as Lewis Hamilton’s partner for next season at the British Grand Prix next weekend. That’s according to Formula One pundit Martin Brundle, who believes the manufacturer could be poised to end the speculation over Valtteri Bottas’ future at Silverstone.
Hamilton confirmed a new deal with Mercedes on Saturday, with the seven-time champion signing up to continue competing in F1 until the end of the 2023 season.
The 36-year-old’s decision has increased the discussion around who should partner the Briton next season with the Silver Arrows.
Mercedes’ second seat currently remains unfilled for the next two seasons, but team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed multiple times it is between incumbent Bottas and Williams driver Russell.
Bottas has been with the manufacturer for five years now but his seat appears to be under serious threat from 23-year-old Russell.
Russell narrowly missed out on his first points of the 2021 season for Williams at the Austrian Grand Prix on the weekend, claiming 11th place, and Brundle thinks a promotion could be just around the corner.
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“It wouldn’t surprise me if George [Russell] got the drive next year alongside Lewis [Hamilton] at Mercedes,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“Whether it’ll be announced at Silverstone… if they’re going to do it, why not? It would be the perfect place.”
Russell is certainly on Mercedes’ radar, having already driven for the team in December last year when Hamilton was struck down by COVID-19.
He performed “an amazing job” according to Hamilton at the Sakhir GP in Bahrain before a puncture put an end to his hopes of a podium finish.
The Brit is in the final year of his three-year stay with Williams and feels his experiences have put him in good stead for future challenges.
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“It’s just been a lot of difficult moments to deal with,” Russell told RacingNews365 this week.
“I feel fortunate because hopefully, in the future, having the chance to fight for victories and World Championships, I’ve experienced a lot more disappointment than others.
“I think it will make you mentally stronger and will actually helped me in the difficult moments in the future, because for sure there will be some.”
Russell’s chances of partnering Hamilton next season have been given a shot in the arm by the uninspiring performances of Bottas.
The 31-year-old Finn is currently fifth in the standings, behind McLaren’s Lando Norris in fourth and 58 points adrift of his team-mate Hamilton in second.
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