Toto Wolff rubbishes rumours that Bottas could be replaced with Russell

Toto Wolff says rumours that Valtteri Bottas could be replaced with George Russell before the end of the season are “nonsense” and explains why Lewis Hamilton outperforms the Finn.

Yesterday the Daily Mail ‘reported’ that an “inside source” told them Mercedes was ‘losing faith’ in Valtteri Bottas and was likely to replace him with their junior driver George Russell before the season is over.

We didn’t report this because it seemed completely unsubstantiated, and we try to stay clear of stories that claim to come from an ‘anonymous source’. It seems we were right not to publish it, as only a day later Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff completely rubbished the rumour.

“Nonsense,” Wolff told the Osterreich newspaper when asked if there was any truth to the story.

“Bottas is really good – he can take on anyone in the field. And again and again he is able to drive faster than Lewis, like last time in Portimao qualifying.

“Lewis deserves to be world champion through being more consistent,” Wolff added as a rebuttal to the assertion that Lewis is ‘amost always’ ahead of Valtteri.

Wolff recently stated that he is planning to give Lewis Hamilton’s contract negotiations “a little nudge”. The Osterreich newspaper asked him if the talks are imminent.

“At the moment we are concentrating on the championship. We must not take our eyes off the ball.

“If at some point there is time we will talk about the future, but we haven’t started that yet.”

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The Austrian was also asked to comment on the fact that Red Bull seems to be ‘poaching’ Mercedes’ employees to kick-start it’s new engine operation.

“It’s very simple – Red Bull recruits employees with the promise of a great future. What I always say is that the future is not clear.

“But it’s quite normal to fight off-track. And the fight for the best people is constant.”

Finally, Wolff was asked to comment on Red Bull’s statement that Mercedes are entering the Spanish Grand Prix as favourites.

“Well, they have the crystal ball. The truth is that it remains a head-to-head race,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.

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