Mercedes protégé Russell won't rely on Bottas 'having bad races'

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George Russell says he's ready to step up to the next level in F1 with Mercedes, but the Williams rookie is determined to prove his mettle to Toto Wolff rather than rely on an incumbent driver's under-performance.

As F1 heads deeper into the summer and its traditional 'contract season', a fair amount of uncertainty still surrounds Mercedes line-up for 2020.

Lewis Hamilton remains contracted to the Silver Arrows squad for next season, but Valtteri Bottas future at Mercedes appears once again in jeopardy.

The Finn hit the ground running in Melbourne and won again in Baku but since, Bottas has been comprehensively outpaced by Hamilton, generating worries that the 29-year-old's usual mid-season slump has set in once again.

Mercedes has kept French talent Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings while Russell - the manufacturer's other protégé - undergoes his formative year in F1 with Williams.

If Bottas gets the axe, the 21-year-old Brit is ready to take over the plum drive.

"If Toto called me tomorrow and asked if I was ready to drive for Mercedes my answer would be absolutely," Russell told PA.

"I am not going to rely on Valtteri having bad races. I am going to go out there and make it happen for myself.

"If that is not good enough then I will hold my hands up and say I didn’t do the job.

"I am on top of my game. Right now, I am 100 per cent dedicated to Williams, but if Mercedes called me up, I will be ready."

It remains to be seen however which young charger - Russell or Ocon - is next in line for a promotion at Merecdes. The Frenchman's experience perhaps puts him ahead in the pecking order.

"Mercedes have given me targets. Each time, I have met them, and they have rewarded me," said Russell.

"I have faith that if I have performed to the right level, there is no reason why I will not get the opportunity.

"You only have to look at what Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have done at Red Bull and Ferrari.

"You can argue about experience all you want, but sometimes it is not all you need."

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