KEY POINTS

  • Mercedes boss Toto Wolff drops a huge hint at what could happen for Valtteri Bottas this season
  • Wolff says Mercedes might pick between Bottas and George Russell to be Lewis Hamilton's partner
  • The Silver Arrows are confident Hamilton will opt to stay for a little longer

The current Formula One season could help Mercedes-AMG Petronas to find the perfect teammate for Lewis Hamilton.

While Mercedes is still working on prolonging Hamilton’s contract, rumors began swirling around the sport that the second seat is now being deliberated--with Valtteri Bottas and George Russell topping the list.

Lifting the lid on the subject, Mercedes executive and Team Principal Toto Wolff revealed that a decision could be made depending on how the next competitions play out for the aforementioned drivers.

“I hope one day that I wake up and it becomes clear,” Wolff told Formula One’s official website.

“I think we need to look into the season and how the next races unfold and then it is a judgement call I believe. Not a very scientific response but I haven’t got any at the moment,” he continued.

Wolff will get to assess Bottas and Russell at the Spanish Grand Prix happening at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.

Bottas has been a great co-star for Hamilton since joining the Silver Arrows in 2017.

Russell, on the other hand, has been credited for replacing the seven-time world champion in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

However, six-time F1 race winner Ralf Schumacher speculated that despite the pair’s impressive resumes, Hamilton “wouldn’t be happy” if a “swap” will happen.

“It makes no sense to swap Valtteri [Bottas] during the season,” Schumacher  told Sport1. “Of course, Bottas is not as strong as Hamilton, few are. But compared to Imola, he clearly improved in Portugal and fought his way out of the slump. After all, he was on pole there.”

 “It’s still far too early in the season to draw such conclusions now,” he added. “A swap would bring more unrest into the team than it would help – because Hamilton probably wouldn’t be happy to have [George] Russell as a team-mate either.”

Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas (L) wants to remain teammates with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2019. In this picture, Pole position qualifier Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP and second place qualifier and teammate Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP wave to the crowd during qualifying for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, Spain, May 12, 2018. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

As for Hamilton, Mercedes remains confident that the Brit will opt to extend his contract in a deal that would mark his 10th-straight season with the team.

“We have talked about it before and it’s good to see [he’s said] it out in public,” Wolff said of Hamilton’s contract extension. “Like I’ve always said, there’s no reason why the marriage shouldn’t continue.”

“We learned our lesson [with the last contract] that we wouldn’t leave it until the Christmas holidays,” he explained. “I think we are in a very good place and our relationship is growing stronger every year. It’s about time to give it a little nudge and start to speak and this is what we are going to do soon.”