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Russell to stay at Williams, Bottas set for new Merc deal

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George Russell has confirmed he will stay with Williams in 2021 as Valtteri Bottas looks set to sign an extension with Mercedes.

Russell, the 2018 F2 champion, is a Mercedes junior driver and seen as the next in line whenever the world champions have a vacancy. His hopes of a seat for next season depended on Mercedes parting company with Bottas, as a new contract for Lewis Hamilton has been a formality for some time.

Speaking at a socially distanced press conference ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, Russell confirmed the news, joking "You heard it here first!"

Russell originally singed a three-year deal with the team, but he suggested Mercedes had looked into getting him out of it a year earlier. Ultimately, he said Claire Williams had every right to see out the existing deal.

"I signed a three-year deal with Williams. I'll be staying there for 2021 to build off last year and hopefully what this year turns out to be."

When asked if he was disappointed to be overlooked by Mercedes, he suggested the world champions had tried to get him out of the deal.

"No, I'm not disappointed in Mercedes at all. There was nothing more they could do. Claire was very firm in her decision in that she wasn't ready to let me go and as I have a contract with Williams I have to respect that decision.

"I'm here, I'll be giving everything I've got for this year and into next year. Let's see what the future holds after that."

Russell's 2020 teammate, Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi, also reiterated that he has signed a multi-year deal and will remain with Russell for next season.