The Sakhir Grand Prix ended in disappointment for George Russell, with a pitstop error and a late slow puncture costing him the win, but his strong drive nevertheless drastically increased his stock in the F1 paddock.
Russell led most of the grand prix ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas – and despite him ultimately finishing behind the Finn, their respective performances in Bahrain prompted calls for the Silver Arrows to drop Bottas and sign Russell for 2021.
Commenting on the prospect of Russell joining the Silver Arrows and the status of Lewis Hamilton’s contract negotiations, ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger said:
“I would call it a matter of money. Hamilton is eaten away by ambition. He sent messages all weekend when he couldn’t drive. But he didn’t write a single congratulation to Russell.
“He wants to dominate and play the main role. But Russell has already shown what he can do with a Williams as well,” Berger said following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Continuing, Berger said he is unsure if Mercedes would be willing to drop Bottas for Russell next season, but he suggested that it would be the right move.
“Contracts must be kept and as far as I know, Bottas has a contract for 2021. They have committed already to going into the future with him.
“Bottas doesn’t have the speed of Russell. I don’t know whether they can decide behind the scenes to take a different route,” Berger concluded.