Valtteri Bottas has sent Formula One fans into a spin after a curious change to his Instagram bio.
The Mercedes driver is under pressure at Mercedes after seeing George Russell make a very encouraging cameo in the F1 in place of reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
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Young Brit Russell took the seat of Hamilton at the Sakhir GP over the weekend after the seven-time world champion tested positive for COVID-19.
He topped both sessions, qualified second to team mate Valtteri Bottas, and then lost victory in the race after a pitstop mix-up and subsequent puncture.
The pit crew accidentally put Bottas' tyres on the car of Russell in what Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described as a “colossal f***-up”.
However, Russell's impressive form has led to plenty of speculation that his future could lie with Mercedes, despite being contracted to Williams.
Eagle-eyed fans noticed a change on Bottas' Instagram bio that has only fuelled rumours that he could be pushed out at Mercedes.
The Finnish driver deleted all mention of Mercedes on his bio, which now simply reads: “Valtteri Bottas. Driver. #VB77.”
Russell then threw more fuel on the fire of rumours that he could be set to replace Bottas by removing Williams from his own bio.
While some fans have speculated that Russell and Bottas could swap seats at Williams and Mercedes respectively, others believe the Finn may be set to quit F1 altogether, and move into a different form of racing.
Mercedes have moved to squash the speculation by claiming on its own Instagram account that it is simply a minor social media change and nothing more.
“It’s just an Instagram bio. Don’t overthink it,” the team wrote with a winking emoji.
Russell hailed after Sakhir GP
Mercedes track engineer director Andrew Shovlin admitted after the Sakhir GP that the team were immensely impressed with how Russell handled the pressure.
"Probably the thing that was least surprising was his speed in qualifying," said Shovlin.
"Because if you look at what he'd been doing in the Williams, clearly he knows how to drive a car quickly. And he knows how to get the most out of it.
"So that was not a complete shock to me, it was kind of what we were hoping to see, and what we were pleased that we did see.
"How he handled the pressure, that's the harder thing to really predict, how he's going to get on. But that was very impressive, actually, he really attacked the session.
"The risk – if this is one opportunity to show what you can do in a fast car – is it's so easy to get it wrong. And it's so easy to create lasting impressions.
"But clearly, he wasn't thinking about that for a second. He really attacked the session. He was confident, he was disciplined. He was methodical in how he approached each run.
"At times, we were under pressure with both drivers in the early part of it. And he stayed calm, and that was nice to see. He's clearly a very good racing driver."
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