George Russell: Mercedes has signed British F1 driver for partner Lewis Hamilton since 2022


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George Russell
Russell has emerged as one of the brightest new F1 stars since making his 2019 debut

George Russell will be a partner to Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes from next season, the team announced.

The 23-year-old Briton replaces Valtteri Bottas, whose move to Alfa Romeo from 2022 was revealed on Monday.

Russell joined Mercedes after three years at Williams in which he underlined his credentials for a spot on the top team.

Russell said he was “absolutely buzzing” on the move.

“I’m not making illusions about the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.”

Mercedes team director Toto Wolff said: “George has been a winner in all racing categories – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us an insight into what the future can bring him in F1.”

This move comes with a certain inevitability – Russell has been a protégé of Mercedes since 2017 and has emerged as one of the brightest new F1 stars since making his 2019 debut.

He has produced a number of outstanding performances for a team whose car is one of the slowest on the grid, and he especially qualified for an outstanding second in the rain at the Belgian Grand Prix last month.

And Russell underlined his credentials for a place with the world champion when he was Hamilton’s deputy at last year’s Sakhira Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion got a contract with Covid. Russell was on his way to winning the race until the team made a mistake at the pit stop.

Wolff, who did not disclose the duration of Russell’s contract, praised Bottas’ achievements and contributions during his five years at Mercedes, and said: “This is not an easy process or a simple decision for us.”

He added that he believes Russell and Hamilton will work well together in the coming years.

“Our common challenge is to help George continue to learn in our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time,” Wolff said.

“I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead.”

Russell said he had “mixed emotions” after three seasons at Williams, which is a spell he “loved every moment”.

But he added: “It’s a huge opportunity I want to grab with both hands.

“My goal must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team and the management have shown me by ensuring that I play my role in continuing that success and I want my new teammates to be proud.

“Of course, one of those new teammates is, in my opinion, the greatest driver of all time.

“I’ve looked up to Lewis since I’ve been karting and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off the track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional and a human being.”

In second place in Formula 1, Alpha Tauri announced on Tuesday that it will continue with Frenchman Pierre Gasly and Japanese Yuki Tsunod in 2022.

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