That point about a team re-set for ’22, when the drawbacks of discontinuity for a team will be minimised by the all-new regulations, was an answer to a question no-one had asked. Likely it’s been imparted to him and is on his mind.
How could long term Mercedes junior Russell not have a seat in the big team after his sensational short-notice stand-in job at Sakhir last year? Not even fitting the car, losing pole to Bottas by hundredths but then having the beating of him in the race – including a very committed overtake after his early lead had been lost to that pit stop calamity with the wrong tyres. He twice had that race in the bag, a performance which virtually demanded that he be in the car once his – and Bottas’ – current contract ends.
It is possible that even if Russell is recruited there may still be a Mercedes seat available, of course. For Hamilton said nothing on Tuesday to quell the idea that he may stop at the end of the year, regardless of whether he takes a record-breaking eighth title.
There’s a lot of reflection going on at Mercedes ahead of the ‘Big Reset’ of ’22. We’re about to see the last season of ‘Old’ F1 and in this transition time there are big decisions to be made everywhere. Bottas is caught in the vortex of some of those and all he can give is his all.