Russell wants wins but Mercedes will consider Bottas, Ocon for 2022

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Mercedes is refusing to rule out Esteban Ocon or Valtteri Bottas alongside Lewis Hamilton next season.

In recent weeks, noises have been getting stronger that the seven-time champion will re-sign with Lewis himself pushing for a new deal by August.

Should that happen, the big question would then be who will be his teammate in 2022, as Bottas is out of contract and Mercedes have two junior drivers waiting for their big chance.

“We will evaluate both choices,” team boss Toto Wolff told Motorsport Italia.

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“Valtteri is one of our drivers and I will always be loyal to our drivers. But we all have an obligation to evaluate the future, to have long-term plans and in this regard, we must consider all the possible options for both cars.

“We have two Mercedes juniors, Esteban and George [Russell], we have to evaluate everything. Max [Verstappen] is certainly a star of the first magnitude in the future, but he is not the only one to be.

“I would add that we are also keeping an eye on other young guys who are emerging, but today there are only two drivers driving a Mercedes and they are Valtteri and Lewis.”

Ocon has begun to put his name back in the Mercedes hat after a strong start to 2021 which has seen him ahead of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

But, as Wolff explained, the Frenchman's situation is a little complicated. 

“Esteban is also one of the drivers that is connected to us, whilst being a fully-fledged Renault or Alpine driver,” he told

“It’s a little bit of a weird situation but that’s the fact. I think the situation is good for him there. He’s growing, he’s putting in the performances. He’s French. All that is very much the stars aligning.

“I think it needs to be Laurent [Rossi, CEO] and Esteban’s call first on how to continue before we start to give an opinion.”

Meanwhile, Russell, the driver most see at the front of the queue should a Mercedes seat emerge, has acknowledged for the first time that Williams can't give him what he wants. 

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“Naturally I didn’t work my whole career to make it to Formula 1 and fight for last position, but that’s the position we are in at the moment and I’m working as hard as I can with Williams to push us forward,” he said in Barcelona.

“The progress that we have made over these last three years fills me with a lot of satisfaction, but ultimately I do want to be fighting for victories.

“But then you see Lewis doing the business week in week out, he’s still got it in him, age is just a number. He is absolutely flying," George conceded.

“Especially in the races, he’s doing an incredible job in a car that isn’t the fastest on the grid. There has always been this argument, is it the car or the driver? But he is putting that to bed at the moment.”