Mercedes deal to switch Valtteri Bottas for George Russell ‘done’ reckons Damon Hill

F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season

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Damon Hill believes Mercedes have already decided who will partner Lewis Hamilton in 2022, with the deal “done” according to the 1996 world champion. With Hamilton’s contract now ticked off, and the Briton confirmed until 2024 at Mercedes, all eyes are on Valtteri Bottas, who currently occupies the second seat alongside the seven-time world champion.

Bottas’ contract is due for renewal come the end of the season but he recently reiterated that talks have yet to be held with Mercedes regarding his future, though he assumed talks would take place over F1’s summer break.

But the Finn’s future has been the subject of much conversation, with George Russell waiting in the wings, after impressing on his debut for Mercedes back in December last year as Hamilton was recovering from COVID-19.

Russell, who is a Mercedes junior driver, has been patiently working alongside Williams during a three-year stint with the Oxford-based team, while not so quietly expressing his interest for a promotion to the top team next season.

Speaking on the F1 Nation Podcast, F1 journalists Tom Clarkson, Natalie Pinkham, and former F1 driver Hill discussed their thoughts surrounding the switch.

George Russell to Mercedes ‘really interesting’ to Lewis Hamilton 

“I would definitely put George in,” said Pinkham when asked who she would sign if she was boss Toto Wolff.

“I think it’s done, Tom,” added Hill.

“Damon thinks it’s done, and this is nothing against Valtteri as I think he’s great, but there’s just something so exciting about having George and Lewis at the same team,” added Pinkham.

Hamilton now trails Max Verstappen in the driver standings by 32 points heading to the British Grand Prix in a week’s time, with Red Bull pulling out a 44-point lead over Mercedes,

The Briton had recently said he’s been enjoying the duel between the two drivers and hoped for more of the same in the future.

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But the 36-year-old has been without a win since the Spanish Grand Prix, with Red Bull dominating the past six races in the championship and Verstappen looking to make it four wins in a row at Silverstone.

“I thought he was pretty deflated after the race. Do you know what? I think one of the reasons he thinks he has signed for two years is that he can see the writing on the wall for this season,” added Clarkson.

“Somewhere in the back of his head, he thinks this is over, I need number eight.”

And when asked when Hamilton may hang up his helmet, Hill responded: “I think it all comes down to whether you’re enjoying it, and whether you’re winning.

“You said he was a bit down, it wasn’t a much fun race, going backwards and having to concede the position to Valtteri [during the Austrian Grand Prix.]

“First they say to Valtteri don’t overtake Lewis, and then they change their mind halfway through, well a lap later.

“They had to do that, they were under threat and Lewis couldn’t hang on [due to damage] anymore.

“They’re in damage limitation mode at the moment, Mercedes.”

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