F1: Lewis Hamilton shows off his latest talent
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Valtteri Bottas is fighting on two fronts this season and former F1 star Felipe Massa reckons the Finn is feeling the pressure. Bottas has struggled to match team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the past few years and failure to do so this season could see the end of his time with Mercedes.
Along with that, George Russell continues to see his stock rise and Toto Wolff flirts with the prospect of offering the 23-year-old a promotion.
It is widely expected that Mercedes will shake-up their driver line up for the 2022 season with both of their current stars out of contract.
Hamilton will be offered an extension but Wolff is unsure whether he wants to replace Bottas.
That is putting significant pressure on the 31-year-old to do what he has not been able to before by matching his team-mate.
”It’s a mental thing. It is not easy to fight with a champion like Hamilton. The same goes for Vettel,” Massa said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“They are both in a difficult situation and then Bottas also has to live with Russell who keeps chasing him.”
Bottas and Russell came to blows at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix earlier this month as they crashed out of the race.
Youngster Russell went over to Bottas as he remained sat in his crumbled car and slapped his helmet.
A war of words ensued afterwards sparking tension between the Williams star and Mercedes, where he wants to drive next year.
Russell has since issued a lengthy apology after he was reprimanded by Wolff.
“George is very strong, even though he made a mistake in Imola,” Massa said. “He deserves a chance and I hope Mercedes will give it sooner or later.
“I liked the fact that he apologised for his mistake. That is a sign of maturity, that he dares to admit such a mistake.”
Russell’s apology read: “[Sunday] wasn’t my proudest day. I knew it would be one of the best opportunities to score points this season and, when these points matter as much as they do to us right now, sometimes you take risks. It didn’t pay off and I have to take responsibility for that.
“Having had time to reflect on what happened afterwards, I know I should have handled the whole situation better.
“Emotions can run high in the heat of the moment and mine got the better of me. I apologise to Valtteri, my team, and anyone who felt let down by my actions. That’s not who I am and I expect more from myself, as I know others expect from me.
“I have learned some tough lessons this weekend and will come out of this a better driver and a better person for the experience.”
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