Toto Wolff claims that Lewis Hamilton is not influencing Mercedes’ decision on his teammate.
Lewis Hamilton, the incumbent Formula One champion, is not influencing Mercedes’ selection on his future partner and is “fine” with working with either Valtteri Bottas or George Russell next season, according to team boss Toto Wolff.
Hamilton signed a contract extension earlier this year that will keep him at Mercedes until the end of 2023. His F1 teammate for the 2022 season, however, has yet to be determined.
Despite Wolff’s repeated statements that the final decision will be made over the summer break, there have been rumors that Botta’s time at Mercedes is coming to an end. Bottas was recently praised by Wolff after assisting Hamilton to victory in the British Grand Prix following the early retirement of race leader Max Verstappen.
“We need to bring our heads together at Brackley and talk to Mercedes about it so we can figure out who our future driver pairing will be. Over the summer, we’ll get together, make a decision, and then figure out how to express it,” Wolff told Motorsport-Total.com.
In the same interview, Wolff went on to say that Hamilton is aware of both the benefits and drawbacks of working with Bottas and Russell.
“Both situations are fine with Lewis. He is aware of the advantages and disadvantages that Valtteri and George face. Lewis has never tried to sway the choice, and he doesn’t have a preference for who should be in the car. He enjoys his friendship with Valtteri, and we are aware of this. But he never indicated he preferred this or that,” says the Austrian businessman and former race car driver.
Wolff also agreed that the pairing of Hamilton and Bottas provides the team with the requisite balance.
“To be honest, I believe we now have the partnership that gives the greatest in terms of team balance and knowledge of how we can grow our car,” Wolf said.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton is now in second place, eight points behind Red Bull’s Verstappen, after ten races in the 2021 season.