• Mercedes could be set to unexpectedly change its driver lineup for 2021.
• If it happens, George Russell could replace Valtteri Bottas.
• Russell is the replacement driver for Covid-19 stricken Lewis Hamilton.
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The internet has been abuzz the last 48 hours following subtle activity on social media. Why? Because Valtteri Bottas and George Russell updated their respective Instagram bios. It might not seem like anything major, but Russell removed the Williams team's name from his page, and Bottas did the same with Mercedes-AMG.
Of course, this sent Formula 1 fans into hyperdrive with predictions swirling around that the two drivers will be swapping seats ahead of the 2021 season.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 team, ever the jokers they are, updated their Instagram account's bio with the caption: "It's just an Instagram bio. Don't overthink it." This is a clear poke at what transpired with Russell and Bottas, but the activity even has Puma commenting: "WHAT DOES IT MEAN".
Exactly, Puma, what does it all mean?
Expecting the unexpected
Russell was drafted into the Mercedes team ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix to replace Lewis Hamilton who tested positive for Covid-19. Russell performed exceptionally well and was on course to secure his first win in the sport. That was until a 'colossal f**k up' prevented that from happening.
Yet, Russell's performance overshadowed that of Bottas and left the seasoned Mercedes driver questioning himself and the world of F1 looking at the team to say something - proverbially speaking. Both Mercedes and team boss, Toto Wolff, commented on the matter, with both stating that Russell has proven that he deserves to drive for the team (in future). And the activity on Instagram could be a sign that it might happen sooner than expected.
With the Williams team having such close ties with Mercedes, it can't be discounted that the two drivers might swap seats. When Bottas joined Mercedes at the start of the 2017 season, he came from Williams. Russell, Williams' current driver, is a Mercedes development driver and earmarked for a move to the team in future. Many expected him to join the team in 2021, but Mercedes opted to retain Bottas for next year, citing that Russell needed "more time to develop" as an F1 driver.
We can't say with certainty that the two drivers in question will swap seats, but Mercedes can't ignore Russell for much longer.