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Wehrlein, not Bottas, the right choice for Mercedes - Berger

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Wehrlein, not Bottas, the right choice for Mercedes - Berger
By:
Jan 13, 2017, 10:10 AM

Former F1 driver Gerhard Berger believes Valtteri Bottas did not outperform Williams teammate Felipe Massa enough to deserve a Mercedes drive over Pascal Wehrlein.

Gerhard Berger
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, on the grid
Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes AMG F1 testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres
Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1 Team
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05

Mercedes is still finalising its plans on who will replace Nico Rosberg, but Bottas is expected to edge out junior driver Wehrlein to line up alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Wehrlein, who was seriously considered for the Mercedes drive, is instead expected to end up at Sauber.

Berger thinks, however, that it would have made more sense for Mercedes to have promoted its junior driver Wehrlein for the seat as he is already part of its family.

"I would have taken Wehrlein to underline my own young driver programme," Berger told Auto Motor und Sport. "Wehrlein always left a convincing impression in this programme.

"You will only see how good he really is when you put him in a top car."

The Austrian concedes putting Wehrlein in the Mercedes would have been a bigger risk, but he feels Bottas was not dominant enough last year at Williams to deserve the top drive.

"In comparison to Bottas, Wehrlein is a risk, for sure," Berger added. "Therefore, maybe the clever solution is not the one that springs to mind first and foremost.

"I hold Bottas in high esteem. He's quick, a good team player, a nice person and he has earned the chance to prove himself.

"On the other hand he didn't destroy Massa enough for us to be saying: He's the right choice."

Additional reporting by Stefan Ehlen

 

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