Word on the Street: Russell to Mercedes, Bottas to Alfa Romeo

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

With Kimi Raikkonen announcing his retirement at the end of the year, the chatter around Mercedes’ 2022 driver line-up is at a fever pitch.

2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2021. With this, the rumours saying that Valtteri Bottas will replace him at Alfa Romeo seem to be coming true.

Recently, the word on the street (or around the paddock) has been that George Russell will soon be announced as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes for 2022. In this scenario Bottas would go to Alfa Romeo, due to Toto Wolff’s connections to Alfa Romeo team boss Frédéric Vasseur.

Although Alfa Romeo is affiliated with Ferrari, according to these reports Wolff brokered the deal because of his personal relationship with Vasseur. The Austrian did state that Mercedes would make sure that both Russell and Bottas have a future in Formula 1, even if they are not chosen by Mercedes.

There are also rumours that Alfa Romeo could take on Mercedes’ Formula E driver, and currently their F1 reserve driver, Nyck de Vries as Bottas’ partner. Last month de Vries became the first FIA recognized Formula E champion. Nyck’s success led to Toto Wolff declaring that he deserves to be in Formula 1.

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Interestingly George Russell also recently said de Vries deserves a Formula 1 seat.

“I think Nyck is a fantastic driver,” the Briton said.

“He is a Formula 2 champion, he is a Formula E champion. He has definitely got the speed, he has got the charisma and the right attitude to be an F1 driver.

“Unfortunately, Formula 1 only has 20 drivers and for a great driver to come in a great driver has to leave so it is not quite as simple as that. He deserves to be here but let’s see if he gets the opportunity of the opportunity arises for himself.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t enough space for everybody,” concluded Russell.

While all of this is just a rumour at the moment, after Kimi Raikkonen’s announcement this scenario seems to be becoming increasingly likely.

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