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SPA, BELGIUM – Second placer George Russell of Great Britain and Williams celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 29, 2021 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo : Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
The future is now for Formula One outfit Mercedes as the Silver Arrows finally confirmed on Tuesday that George Russell would drive for the team alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the 2022 season.
Russell’s blockbuster move comes a day after Alfa Romeo announced that it had signed long-time Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas for the 2022 campaign. Russell’s stock has never been higher, achieving fantastic results in his third year with Williams.
Mercedes signs Russell after his first podium finish at Spa
The 23-year-old just recorded the first podium of his career at the Belgian Grand Prix, earning that P2 finish by producing a spectacular qualifying lap in very wet conditions at Spa. He even finished ahead of Hamilton, who is a known master of the wet tracks.
Russell was delighted with his upcoming promotion to Mercedes, saying, “It’s a special day for me personally and professionally. I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step.” Russell admitted, however, that he had mixed emotions regarding the move as he will soon be saying goodbye to his teammates and friends at Williams.
Russell’s partnership with the Mercedes racing family began when he was just 15 years old. He delivered a Powerpoint presentation to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, providing several reasons why he deserved to be given financial backing by the racing giant. Thanks to that clever presentation and his impressive results at that time, Wolff decided to invest in Russell’s talents.
Russell duly rewarded Wolff’s faith in him, capturing the 2017 GP3 (now Formula 3) and the 2018 Formula 2 titles. Mercedes managed to find a Formula 1 seat for Russell in 2019, sending him to Williams that year.
Russell to face toughest test yet in Mercedes
Russell’s time with Williams has been challenging to say the least, as they failed to score any points in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Their fortunes have improved this year, though, under new management, scoring valuable points in two of the last three races to leapfrog Alfa Romeo and Haas in the constructor standings.
Russell will only have nine races remaining with Williams before embarking on his most difficult challenge yet on the race tracks. Russell said that driving for Mercedes will be a steep learning curve, but he is eager to learn from the greatest driver of all time.
Russell said that he has looked up to Lewis since he was racing in go-karts. The opportunity to learn from his role model both on and off the track can benefit him as a driver, a professional, and a human being.
Hamilton returned the compliments in his Instagram post, saying Russell is a “great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly.” He concluded his post by telling Russell, “See you next year.”
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