Valtteri Bottas would need to be driving “extremely badly” to be dropped mid-season, that’s according to former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher.
And the German says he isn’t there, but it is “slowly becoming difficult” for the Mercedes driver.
Bottas entered this year’s championship promising to be selfish and demand what he needs to achieve his goal of winning the World Championship.
Instead he has found himself once again lagging behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, resulting in a first round of team orders as the Spanish Grand Prix.
With 47 points to Hamilton’s 94, there is speculation in the media that the Finn’s time at Mercedes is fast running out, some even suggesting he could be replaced mid-season.
Schumacher doesn’t see that happening, conceding that while Bottas isn’t doing that poorly at this stage of the season.
“There was talk of Valtteri having to leave his place during the season,” the Sky Germany commentator told Speedweek. “I don’t see that.
“To do that, he would have to drive extremely badly, and he isn’t.”
That, though, doesn’t mean he’ll be a Mercedes driver for much longer with Schumacher saying his seat should go to George Russell next season.
“In the medium term, I would allow George Russell to drive a Mercedes,” he said. “I also think the Englishman would do a better job there than Bottas because after all the setbacks, the whole thing is slowly becoming difficult for Valtteri.”
Stand out from the crowd with McLaren merchandise via the official Formula 1 store
The German also weighed in on Daniel Ricciardo, who made the move to McLaren at the start of the year.
Although it was thought the Aussie would get the better of his team-mate Lando Norris, at present it is the Brit who is leading the charge for McLaren.
“McLaren has to do the construction work,” said Schumacher. “Formula 1 is developing very quickly, Daniel Ricciardo is behind, and we’ve seen his usual smile get a little lost.
“Of course it stinks to him, as he was inferior to his team-mate Lando Norris until Barcelona. Ricciardo knows: Actually he, Daniel, should be the team leader.
“Maybe that will change this weekend, because Daniel has captured two of his three pole positions in Monaco, he should have won in 2017, a mistake by the team when changing tyres cost the triumph, and in 2018 he made up for it.
“This is a driver who feels very comfortable in Monaco. The question will be how comfortable he feels in the McLaren in order to be able to play to his full strength. ”
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