Lewis Hamilton’s decision to extend his deal a further two years means Mercedes’ focus will now shift onto who will be his teammate for next season, with the team weighing up whether to retain Bottas or replace him with its junior and current Williams driver George Russell

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said on Saturday at the Austrian Grand Prix that the team intends to choose who will partner Hamilton to complete Mercedes’ 2022 line-up “in the summer”. 

Should Mercedes decide to promote Russell, it would leave Bottas with limited options to stay on the F1 grid next year. 

With Red Bull expected to retain Sergio Perez and AlphaTauri keen to continue with its current line-up, Williams and Alfa Romeo are the only other teams that appear likely to be looking for a new driver. 

A return to Williams would be the most realistic option for Bottas given that a promotion to Mercedes for Russell would result in a spare seat opening up at the Grove-based team. 

“Obviously I want to get the understanding from the team, what is the plan, which driver they want in the other car,” Bottas replied when asked if he would consider other options in F1, or look at other series. 

“Lewis is confirmed, the other is still free, so the team needs to decide. I need to have that discussion.

“But I also feel like I have many, many years still left in me. I enjoy racing, I love racing, I love F1, so it's definitely not done to go to another form of sport or motorsport in the coming years.

“If that was the case that I wouldn't continue with Mercedes, of course I would look at other options. But it's not something I need to think about now.

“I also have a good management team, and they haven't told me anything yet. I don't know if they've been in touch with anyone, because they know how important it is to focus on at this current moment and delivering the best we can, as a team and for me personally.

“And the time will be right soon. I don't know yet which day, which week. But I think yes, we'll have to look at all the options and the situation as a whole. But for now, I focus on tomorrow.”

Russell produced a stunning lap in Austrian GP qualifying to record his first Q3 appearance for Williams despite setting his best time on the medium tyre. 

The 23-year-old Briton is set to start eighth on the grid for Sunday’s race as he bids to score his first points for Williams after an engine issue cruelly robbed him of a top-10 finish last weekend. 

“He performed very well already last week and then only the problem that we had with the PU stopped Williams scoring solid points,” Wolff said of Russell’s qualifying performance. “And that’s a shame because in a way we let them down.

“Here again today, his qualifying performance was optimum in the top 10 and I guess that he can perform equally well in the race. He’s not only quick but he’s also gentle to the tyres. 

“He’s doing what is expected of him, or maybe even a little bit more.”