George Russell in Mercedes is not wanted by Lewis Hamilton because he will be his biggest competitor.
That’s the point made by former F1 driver Arturo Merzario, who assumes 36-year-old Valtteri Bottas would prefer to be on his side.
A new contract with the Silver Arrows has yet to be signed by the seven-time world champion.
But there have been suggestions from both sides that after his contract expired last season, a deal is in the works with Hamilton officially unemployed.
The two sides are thought to have squabbled over salaries, with Hamilton keen to retain his £ 40 million-a-year wages and Mercedes looking to slash costs.
There are reports, however, that team boss Toto Wolff is ready to make Russell his main man after last season made a bright impression.
And Merzario claims that Hamilton won’t have the 22-year-old next to him, sparking more tension in the camp at Merc.
“It probably isn’t far from the truth that Hamilton doesn’t want such a teammate,” De Telegraaf said. “Valtteri Bottas is even safer for him.
The maxim that your first competitor is always your teammate in the same car is understood by everyone in racing.
“But it needs to be obvious to Hamilton that things are changing.
You get to the stage sooner or later, as a driver, that the younger ones overtake you. In every work, it’s like that. Why is Formula 1 should it be any different? ”
Adding more fuel to the drama, Wolff admitted that if Hamilton did not return to the team, he would not be disappointed.
I’m not worried about that at all, because I will always honor the decisions of Lewis,” he said.”
If it means sticking with us for a long time, or whether it means leaving the game and following various interests.
We need to be prepared, I suppose, for all sorts of curveballs being thrown at us.
“And at the same time, we talk constantly, and we are very frank with each other. I think there is much more to achieve together.”
After telling fans on Instagram he is in training ahead of the new season, Hamilton has indicated that talks with Mercedes are complete.
Reports have emerged, however, that the Silver Arrows are already in the process of replacing him.