After it had been confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo next year, all the fans were eagerly waiting for the replacement of the Finn at the Silver Arrows. All the speculations were finally put to rest on Tuesday when Mercedes made the much-awaited announcement of George Russell signing for them for F1 2022 season, setting up a remarkable Brit-driver pairing of him and Lewis Hamilton.
Russell has taken giant strides in last couple of years and has been one of the most impressive drivers on the grid. He produced a remarkable drive for Mercedes when he was called in as COVID-19 replacement for Lewis Hamilton where he was unlucky to miss out on a victory. Talking about this season, the youngster has been phenomenal for Williams having scored 13 points so far, including his first F1 podium which he secured recently at Spa.
Reflecting on the big move from Williams to Mercedes, the 23-year-old said, "It's a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions. I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my team mates and friends at Williams."
Russell also added that he has looked up to Lewis since he was in go-karts and is absolutely excited to learn from someone whom he considers as a role model both on and off track. He said that the experience of working with Lewis would not only benefit him as a driver but as a professional and human being as well.
Russell has been a winner in every race category: Toto Wolff
Mercedes team principal and CEO - Toto Wolff - was undoubtedly thrilled having seen the progress of Russell over the course of last few years. Reflecting on the same, he said, "We are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes. He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1."
The 49-year-old added that it is the team's challenge together to help Russell continue learning within their environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time. "I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead," Wolff concluded.
Notably, Russell's move to Mercedes has vacant one seat at Williams for next year. While Nicholas Latifi is set to retain his seat, he is expected to be partnered by either Alex Albon or Nyck de Vries in F1 2022.