Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff fires back at critics as Mercedes ponder George Russell switch

Lewis Hamilton: Toto Wolff fires back at critics as Mercedes ponder George Russell switch

Toto Wolff has jumped to the defence of Lewis Hamilton following suggestions that his success is driven by the superiority of his car, in the wake of the Sakhir Grand Prix. George Russell starred in the seven-time world champion’s absence in Bahrain and nearly secured a memorable maiden victory before a series of unfortunate events.

The 22-year-old was within 0.026 seconds of snatching pole and looked set to cruise to victory before a bizarre pit-lane mix-up cost Mercedes dearly.

Russell did not give up there though, and even after dropping down to fifth place, he was hot on the tale of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez before his fightback was halted by an untimely puncture.

His fine showing has resulted in speculation that Russell could now team up with Hamilton from 2022, when Valterri Bottas’ contract comes to an end.

While Russell excelled in Hamilton’s car, Wolff is adamant that the F1 world champion deserves all the plaudits for the way he has soared to seven world titles and a number of records.

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Wolff is under increasing pressure to tie up the services of Russell on a permanent basis, however, the Austrian has claimed he will not rush into any decision because he needs “to see what the future holds”.

He later added: “To be honest, I haven’t made up my mind what that means for us.”

Hamilton will be back in the car for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi this weekend, Wolff has confirmed, permitting he gets the green light from the authorities after recovering from the coronavirus.

The Mercedes star revealed he is eyeing a return after completing his first workout, with his 10-day period of isolation set to be concluded tomorrow.

“Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well,” he said in an Instagram video. “I know I’ve not been in touch this past week, but it’s definitely been one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time.

“I’ve just been focusing on recovering and trying to get back in shape so I can get back in the car and race in the final race in Abu Dhabi.

“I woke up today feeling great and got my first workout in, so I just wanted to send you guys a message of positivity and let you know that I’m OK. I want to thank every single one of you for sending the amazing messages and videos.

“I really, really appreciate it and I hope that wherever you are you are staying positive and fighting through whatever it is that you are facing. I hope that I can get back in the car soon and, yeah, I’m sending you guys love.”

Published at Wed, 09 Dec 2020 08:23:00 +0000