Williams driver George Russell could replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes before the end of the 2021 season, the Daily Mail reported this week, citing a Silver Arrows source.
The Finn took pole position last time out in Portugal, but he didn’t have the pace to match his Mercedes team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton and he lost time to Max Verstappen due to a slow pit-stop and a mechanical issue.
Following his P3 finish at Portimao, Bottas is currently fourth in the Drivers’ Standings – with less than half the points of his team-mate.
It has long been known that Russell has a strong chance of joining Mercedes next year, but the young Brit could reportedly make an in-season switch.
“There is some unrest at the factory about Valtteri,” a Mercedes source told the Daily Mail.
“He is not up to it, which was made clearer by the job we saw Russell do in Bahrain.”
Earlier this month, when asked about Mercedes’ driver line-up plans for next year, team principal Toto Wolff said they need to see how the coming races pan out before making a decision.
“I hope one day that I wake up and it becomes clear,” Wolff said.
“I think we need to look into the season and how the next races unfold and then it is a judgement call I believe. Not a very scientific response but I haven’t got any at the moment.”