Bottas has failed to match up to Hamilton this season, winning just two races compared to his team-mate’s 11, but this weekend he will be marked against Russell after the seven-time champion was sidelined following a positive Covid-19 test.
The Finn, who has been with Mercedes four years, has signed a one-year deal to race for the team again in 2021. Russell, who is highly rated but has raced 36 times for Williams without scoring a point, is eyeing up the drive for 2022.
Asked what it would do for his career if Russell was able to out-perform him this weekend, he responded: “Quite a punchy question. I haven’t really thought about it.
“It’s difficult to know what to expect from George in terms of performance. He knows the team well, but also it is a different car to the one he has tested, lots of new things.
“I haven’t thought about it in that sense. If I have to give some kind of answer, then I’d say if he beats me, sure it wouldn’t look so good on me if I have a normal race and he beats me fair and square.
“But I am not a person who thinks on that side of things.”
Russell has been helped up the motorsport ladder by Mercedes’ young driver programme and is the first from that pool to get to race for the world champion team in F1.
This weekend’s race, and potentially the following one a week later in Abu Dhabi if Hamilton cannot return in time to compete, could be seen as a mini showdown for a future Mercedes seat.
But neither Bottas, nor Russell, were drawn into such an idea, insisting that getting the upper hand in one or two races is nothing that Mercedes will focus on when it comes to selecting its driver line-up.
Bottas added: “I know you like to speculate things and create drama and showdowns, but I doubt George is thinking that way and at least I don’t.
“From my side, as a racing driver you always want to be ahead of your team-mate, whether it’s Lewis Hamilton or George Russell or anyone else it doesn’t matter.
“I have a job to do for the last races of the season, I have my own motivations, which is trying to win the remaining races, which is obviously for me the only goal, and end the season on a positive way.”
Russell added: “One race doesn’t define a driver’s capability or the decision making for something that is over 12 months away. From my side, that’s not even in the back of my mind.
“I am going out there to enjoy it and learn as much as I can. In terms of the future, that will be judged over the course of the season and what’s happened in the past, not just on one or maybe two races.”
Bottas, he beat you by an absolute mile, fair and square. The fact that you finished ahead of him was pure luck, he must have overtaken the five times as many cars as you. I'm sure you're a great bloke but that Mercedes is wasted under you, it's a shame.
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