George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Finally, the longest-running saga of F1’s silly season is over with the official announcement that George Russell will drive for Mercedes next season. It’s a move that has been expected to happen for a long while now, but Toto Wolff wanted to make sure Valtteri Bottas had a drive for 2022 himself before confirming their swoop for the 23-year-old.
Confirmation of the Finn’s move to Alfa Romeo came on Monday, so the Silver Arrows let the whole motorsport world know they had got their man 24 hours later.
Mercedes have enjoyed tremendous success with the pairing of Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, with the Finn a loyal ally to the seven-time world champion since joining from Williams in 2017.
But with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen proving his title credentials and both Ferrari and McLaren having their own stars of tomorrow in Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, the Brackley-based team wanted to secure their own starlet for the future.
They have their man in Russell, who couldn’t contain his excitement after the news was finally announced.
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Looking ahead to next season, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge – it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles.
“My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud.
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“Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time. I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.”
The 23-year-old also had a lot of nice words for his current employers, who gave him his first shot in F1.
Russell said on Twitter: “It’s official. Next year, I’ll be a Mercedes F1 driver. This is a special day for me and I want to say a huge thank you to Williams, Mercedes and everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you.”
Nine races remain in the current season, and Russell will be hoping for more success with his current employers after a career-best P2 in the rain-aborted race at Spa.
His first chance to score more points will come at Monza this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix.
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