Mercedes made there widely expected move to tie up British racing star George Russell from Williams and the youngster will have the world in his hands next season.
This is vital for Mercedes as they have secured a ready-made replacement for the greatest and most decorated driver in Formula One history — Lewis Hamilton.
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While Hamilton reaches the twilight of a career that has seen seven Drivers’ Championship titles and record-shattering podiums, pole positions and race wins, Mercedes knew they had to make a move for Lewis’ fellow Briton as the Williams driver is such hot property at a time when Max Verstappen is stepping out of Hamilton’s shadow in the title race and a certain Mick Schumacher is finding his feet in the world’s fastest motorsport competition.
Russell will replace Finland’s Valtteri Bottas — who has secured a seat with Alfa Romeo in 2022 after failing to match Hamilton’s performances for Mercedes.
Russell will be in great hands as he will have at least two years of a learning curve alongside Hamilton before the 36-year-old hands over to his young protege.
Hamilton and Russell have such a great bond, it can only mean great things for Mercedes, who struggled to contain a feud between Hamilton and Bottas’ predecessor Nico Rosberg, who famously snatched the Drivers’ title away from Hamilton back in 2016.
Lewis has championed George’s talent at Williams for the past three seasons and the youngster even stepped in for his mentor behind the Mercedes wheel at the Sakhir Grand Prix last season after Hamilton was sidelined with COVID-19.
Mercedes have won the last seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships but are trailing Red Bull this time around before new rules next season will mean a more level playing field. Landing Russell will ensure they will stay at the top and in contention for at least a decade
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands,” said Russell, 23. “But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.”
He is not wrong, but given the way he has handled a poor Williams car and also thrilled the crowds last season during his one race for Mercedes before a botched pit stop and puncture scuppered a dream victory, he is in pole position to go on to great things in the sport.
“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,” added the 2018 Formula Two champion. He is in safe hands.
Russell has actually bagged points for Williams this season and put in a sensational qualifying performance in the wet in Belgium to put his uncompetitive car on the front row. He took second place in the Spa farce that ended after a couple of laps behind the safety car in torrential rain.
Mercedes have landed a great young prospect.