Valtteri Bottas has dismissed suggestions that the result of this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix will determine who drives for Mercedes in 2022.

With Lewis Hamilton testing positive for COVID-19, Mercedes protege George Russell will drive for the team at this weekend’s race in Bahrain.

Bottas signed a one-year contract extension with Mercedes earlier in the year, while Russell’s Williams deal runs out at the end of 2021.

 

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The Finn was quick to play down questions that the outcome of this weekend’s race would influence Mercedes’ decisions in the future.

“Yes, many people can think that way and also you guys making that thing up, because I know that you like to speculate on these things and create drama, showdowns, etc. But I doubt George thinks that way, at least I don’t,” Bottas said.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for George, a great opportunity to learn a lot and to show what he can do with the team. For my side, as a racing driver, of course, you always want to be ahead of your teammate, weather if it’s Lewis Hamilton or George Russell or anyone else, it doesn’t matter. I have a job to do as well, for the last two races of the season, I have my own motivations, which is trying to win the remaining races – that’s, obviously, the only goal - and try to maximize all the learnings I can for next year to end the season on a positive way.

“That could probably help me at the start of next year. I have a contract for next year, I have clear targets for myself for next year, the team as well, so from my side it’s pretty simple. No pressure from my side.”

Russell was asked the same question and agreed with Bottas that one race doesn't define a “driver's capabilities”.

“Yeah just what Valtteri said,” Russell added. “One race doesn’t define a driver’s capabilities or for the decision-making for something over 12 months away, so from my side, that’s not even in the back of my mind.

“Like I say, I will go out there, enjoy it. I have a job to do upon returning to Williams which is to try and push that team forward as well to maximise that learning whether it’s from Valtteri or he team. In terms of the future that’ll be judged over the course of a season, or what’s happened in the past as well, not just off one or maybe two races.”