Mercedes will decide on Hamilton’s F1 teammate in the summer

Mercedes will make a decision over Lewis Hamilton’s teammate for the 2022 Formula 1 season during the summer, according to Toto Wolff.
e post qualifying FIA Press Conference.
e post qualifying FIA Press Conference.
© FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

On Saturday morning it was announced that Hamilton had agreed a new two-year contract extension to remain with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season.

Mercedes does not yet have a second driver signed up for 2022 and beyond with Wolff currently weighing up whether to retain Valtteri Bottas or replace the Finn with Williams’ George Russell.

Speaking to media ahead of qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix, Wolff revealed Mercedes intends to choose who will partner Hamilton “in the summer” and have a deal finalised by the end of the season.

“Today is about Lewis and having that contract out of the way,” Wolff said when asked about Hamilton’s teammate.

“We always said we wanted to give it the next few races to gain more clarity, and also happy Valtteri’s racing in Austria in my opinion was really good and he needs to consolidate that.

“He’s a known factor, and in the same way we know the strengths and weaknesses of George.

“That decision is going to be made during the summer, first discussions with George and Valtteri and then hopefully we are sorted before the end of the season.

“With Lewis we were clear since a while that we wanted to continue so that was obvious for us,” Wolff added.

“And now we can look at the second seat, it’s between those two. And as I said we value them both for their strengths and for what they can contribute to the team.”

Wolff also suggested that Hamilton would welcome the challenge of having a new teammate.

“I think for Lewis it’s not important who sits in the other car, I think the sheer fact of having a competitor, a team and a driver that challenges him and challenges us is all the fun,” Wolff said.

“And yeah, after seven years of success, difficult years with Ferrari where we had to stretch ourselves, very different challenge, bear in mind the regulation change for next year.

“I can tell you the ambiance and the mindset in the briefing room is so much fun like we haven’t had for many years.”

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