At Mercedes during the Hamilton-Bottas years there was a clear hierarchy that has since been replicated at Red Bul, with Verstappen and Sergio Perez, benefitting both Hamilton and Verstappen greatly.

However, Russell has been treated more as an equal, with Wolff seeing him as the future of the team. But disrupting the status quo has seen Mercedes fall behind their rivals and could well have forced Hamilton to look elsewhere.

Over two years on from replacing Bottas with Russell, there is little concrete evidence that the decision has benefitted Hamilton and he may now feel that the only chance of an eighth world title can materialise alongside Charles Leclerc.


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