Many have inferred from these statements that Bottas’s supposed role at Mercedes of scoring solid points for the team and providing a buffer between Hamilton and his rivals, but never really threatening the Brit for the drivers’ title, suits the reigning world-champion, as well as helping secure the constructors’ title for Brackley.
Russell seems unlikely to settle for such a role after showing prodigious pace on his Mercedes cameo at the Sahkir GP last season and putting Bottas in the shade, as he almost won but for a puncture and botched pitstop.
When queried in the press conference on Hamilton’s input in such decisions, Wolff said he involved all Mercedes drivers.
“Lewis is part of the team and has always been in the inner circle of decision making because, simply, we value his opinion,” Wolff said.
“And in the same way, when we’re talking about drivers, there’s nothing we’re not sharing with him – it’s transparent. But [it works] the other way around too, when I speak with Valtteri. It’s [also] open when I speak to George, because I don’t want to have any hidden agendas.
“The decision we will be taking – whether it’s Valtteri or George – the person that’s involved in that will be hearing that first, and that is the driver.”