Bottas shoots down replacement rumours, takes swipe at Red Bull

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Valtteri Bottas says he is not going to be replaced by George Russell mid-season, and adds “there’s only one team that does that kind of thing”.

Yesterday rumours came out that Mercedes could replace Valtteri Bottas with George Russell before the 2021 season is over. A day later Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said there is no truth to the story.

At the Spanish Grand Prix Thursday press conference, Bottas was asked if he was worried about his seat.

“No, because I know that I’m not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” the Finn said.

“As a team, we don’t do that. I have a contract for this year and I think there’s only one team [Red Bull, who replaced Pierre Gasly in the middle of the 2019 season] that does that kind of thing in F1, and we are not that.

“So, no pressure from my side. I know how things are, there’s always bullshit around, but that’s part of the sport.”

Bottas was then asked if he was confident about his Mercedes seat post 2021.

“I don’t know at this point, it’s early days. I haven’t really thought about next year. My core focus is on here and now because that’s all that matters and that will normally bring a good future.

“So I have no idea, and at the moment, I don’t care. I am just focusing on this year and putting every thought and bit of energy into that.”

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Next, Bottas was asked if he was worried that Mercedes might ask him to move over for Lewis Hamilton, as the season progresses.

“I’m not worried to be honest. I know there’s a bit of a gap now, but it’s super early days. For me, there’s no point starting to think about that.

“There’s still 20 races to go which is a huge amount of points and I’m definitely not giving up on the goal for this year

“I always believe that hard work will pay off so I’ll keep keep working hard and keep believing. I know that the results will come and it will pay off.”

And is Valtteri ready for the fight that Red Bull will undoubtedly bring to Spain?

“It’s been an epic battle already. There’s been no clean races for me yet. There’s been always something, either a crash or issue with the pit stop or a sense failure.

“I’m keen to have a clean race and battle for the win and it’s going to be an epic battle this year and I’m definitely ready,” concluded Bottas.

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