Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas before Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit last weekend. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/Reuters
Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas before Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit last weekend. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/Reuters

'No musical chairs' over Valtteri Bottas future, says Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff

By AFP Time of article published May 7, 2021

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BARCELONA – Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insisted on Friday that Valtteri Bottas' seat with the team was safe and that there would be no "musical chairs" over the Finn's future.

Bottas, who has been with the team since 2017, has yet to finish a race this season ahead of either teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton or Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

He did, however, outpace both men in qualifying in Portugal last weekend to claim pole position.

"I see no reason to change. It's these guys over there (Red Bull) that like to play musical chairs, so no change expected," Wolff told Sky Sports.

ALSO READ: Lewis Hamilton pursues 100th pole as 'nip and tuck' title battle arrives in Spain

"Unless he gets flu and can't drive, he's going to be in that car," he added of Bottas's position.

Wolff's reference to Red Bull was telling – in 2016, they dropped Danill Kvyat in the early season in favour of Verstappen.

In 2019, Pierre Gasly was demoted to the Red Bull sister team with Alexander Albon winning promotion as Verstappen's teammate.

Bottas has often seen his seat linked to Williams driver George Russell who is part of the Mercedes driver programme.

ALSO READ: F1 rivals aim to race hard but fair as pressure rises

Russell impressively stood in for Hamilton in Bahrain last season when the world champion was suffering from Covid-19.

To underscore his loyalty to Bottas, Wolff added: "If you are not happy with your wife and you start to already look for other ones, it's not going to improve the relationship.

"I try to work on the relationship with my driver and achieve the best result for him before I'm starting to flirt with someone else."

Ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, Bottas is fourth in the championship with 32 points, 37 behind leader Hamilton.

ALSO READ: Lewis Hamilton stretches F1 lead with victory in Portugal

Verstappen has 61 points in second place with McLaren's Lando Norris in third on 37.

AFP

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