George Russell, Valtteri Bottas tight-lipped on 2022 Mercedes' driver decision plans
But Valtteri Bottas, the incumbent at Mercedes, adds: "Maybe I know something, maybe I don't"; George Russell suggests any 2022 announcement unlikely before the Italian GP in two weeks' time
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 26/08/21 5:05pm
George Russell and Valtteri Bottas said there was "no news to share" about their respective futures, as F1 continues to wait on Mercedes' eagerly-anticipated announcement about who partners Lewis Hamilton at the team next season.
In direct competition for the seat next to F1's seven-time world champion for 2022, Russell and Bottas were paired together by the FIA in the first section of Thursday's drivers' press conference at the Belgian GP where F1 reconvenes after the summer break.
The drivers were tight-lipped about whether any decision by Mercedes had been taken.
"There's no news to share yet," said Bottas, Hamilton's team-mate since 2017.
Asked if this represented a surprise, the Finn did cryptically then add: "Who knows. Maybe I know something, maybe I don't, but like I said, there's no news to share."
Russell, a Mercedes junior driver currently at Williams, towed a similar line but did disclose that conversations had taken place during the break and that any announcement was unlikely for at least two more weeks.
"No news to share at this stage," said the Briton.
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"Obviously in discussions over the summer break but there's nothing to announce one way or another this weekend and probably not next weekend either, to be honest.
"It's no problem. Do things right rather than quickly, let's say."
The Dutch GP follows the Belgium event next week, with the triple-header ending with the Italian GP at Monza on September 12.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes' team principal, said in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper earlier this week that he was keen to have the driver situation for 2022 resolved in September.
Asked by Sky Sports if he knew what the team's decision was but could not divulge it, Bottas replied: "The simple answer is there's nothing I can tell you at the moment. But eventually, we'll find out and everything will be fine."
Should Bottas lose his drive to Russell, as is increasingly anticipated by some, then an effective seat swap with the Briton at Williams, where the Finn started his career, or a switch to Alfa Romeo have been mooted.
Hamilton will support Mercedes decision on team-mate
Having enjoyed a strong working relationship and partnership with Bottas since the Finn replaced Nico Rosberg four-and-a-half years ago, Hamilton has consistently spoken positively about his current team-mate.
The world champion says he talks about the situation with team boss Wolff but says he will support whatever decision the management and board make on who takes the second seat.
"I've obviously been vocal in the past about my loyalty to Valtteri and worked incredibly closely with him, I think our working relationship is better than ever," said Hamilton.
"Toto is a great leader and we always stay connected, of course we talk about these things and naturally we're part of the same team, we want what's best for the team moving forwards, we want to win more championships and so we just have conversations.
"But at the end of the day, it's down to him and the board at Mercedes to make that decision. I'm a part of the team so I'll support them whichever way they go, naturally, but at the moment I'm just trying to put all my energy into being the best I can this season."