Lewis Hamitlon and Valtteri Bottas are the best possible driver pairing for Mercedes, says team boss Toto Wolff.
A hot topic in recent months with both drivers out-of-contract at the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season, it has been speculated that Mercedes could look to partner Hamilton with someone else from 2021 onwards.
However in an interview with Auto, Motor und Sport, Wolff moved to rule-out any changes, suggesting tinkering with the lineup wasn’t worth risking team chemistry.
“We are very happy with our driver pairing,” he said. “Both are quick. Valtteri is there on a bad Lewis day. And on a good day, Lewis can’t be beat.
“The dynamics and the mood between the two is right, which is very important. If you have two large egos in the team, it will be difficult with the constructor’s championship. They both respect the team and the influence they have on the mood in the team. Therefore, the two are the best solution for us.”
Of course, the speculation around Bottas’ future is nothing new, although the criticism has increased in recent weeks after his strong win in the opening race of 2020 in Austria was followed by two comfortable wins for Hamilton.
Complicating matters is that Wolff has two highly-regarded drivers – George Russell and Esteban Ocon – waiting in the wings, but the Austrian doesn’t see either making a switch in the near future.
“With George Russell it is clear that he has another year with Williams. Esteban will be a Renault driver until next year. So it’s a medium-term question of how we line up with the two.”
As to whether he can afford to wait that long with Russell, who has made it clear he wants a more competitive drive, Wolff did not seem concerned.
“He is not lost. Even if we don’t open a door, he’s still a Mercedes driver. I’m not worried that we wouldn’t find a place for him. But that’s still a long way off.”