Toto Wolff has reiterated Valtteri Bottas will be driving for Mercedes next season amid speculation about his future following George Russel’s impressive maiden F1 race for the team in Sakhir last time out.

With Hamilton ruled out of last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix due to testing positive for COVID-19, Williams’ Russell was drafted in as a replacement.

While Bottas had the upper hand in qualifying, Russell outperformed the Finn come race day and was unfortunate to miss out on the victory on his first outing for Mercedes.

Russell’s starring drive in Bahrain led to intense speculation regarding Bottas’ future with the team even though the 31-year-old signed a one-year contract extension earlier this year.

Speaking after qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff confirmed Bottas would be driving for Mercedes for a fifth consecutive season in 2021.

“He’s going to be in our car, I am hereby confirming it,” Wolff said. “We have a contract with Valtteri and he is going to race next year. You need to kick me quite hard in a sensitive zone for me to ever lose my loyalty.

“I am loyal to my two race drivers in the same way I am loyal to our junior drivers. George did a phenomenal job last weekend and he deserves to be in a great car one day.

“He has a contract with Williams for one more year and they have been very flexible and accommodating in giving George to Mercedes this other weekend. Everything is going to go its way, but calmly and in a structured way.”

 

 

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