Mercedes should have taken a punt on Pascal Wehrlein and left Valtteri Bottas at Williams, according to former F1 driver Gerhard Berger.
After Nico Rosberg's shock decision to retire from the sport at the end of last season, less than a week after he had taken the title, Bottas emerged as the favourite to take the now vacant seat alongside Lewis Hamilton, and while nothing has yet been made official, it is understood to only be a matter of time before the Finn is confirmed. Berger, however, is not convinced Bottas is necessarily the right choice.
“I would have taken Wehrlein because I am underlining my own young driver programme,” Berger said this week in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport
. “Wehrlein always gave a convincing impression in this programme. How good he really is can only be seen if he is put in a top car.”
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Berger also argued that while Wehrlein is a bit of a gamble, Bottas hasn't done enough these last few years up against Felipe Massa.
“Wehrlein is certainly a risk compared to Bottas, but perhaps the clever solution is not always the obvious and right one,” Berger continued.
“I think a lot of Bottas. He is fast, a good team player, a nice guy and has earned the chance to prove himself. On the other hand though he did not stand out enough from Massa for us to say: 'He is the right choice'.”
“The most important thing [though] is for Mercedes to find a second driver that does enough so Hamilton doesn't fall asleep,” added the ex-McLaren and Ferrari man. “It could also be that without Nico, Lewis might find the peace he needs and will not get into trouble.
“[Whatever], I believe Mercedes will again be the benchmark in 2017.”
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