Following Valtteri Bottas's move to Alfa Romeo next year, many already had a hunch who his replacement at Mercedes-AMG F1 will be – George Russell. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has had his eye on Russell for a while, and last year he even substituted for Lewis Hamilton when he couldn't race for the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Now it's confirmed. George Russell will be leaving the Williams F1 team and will join the Silver Arrows in 2022.
“It's official. Next year, I’ll be a Mercedes F1 driver. This is 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. It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1,” said Russell.
Since his debut with Williams in 2019, Russell has been one of the best-performing drivers on the grid despite being in what has been arguably the slowest car on the grid. Russell has consistently made it into Q2 and even Q3 during the qualifying sessions which earned him a podium at the rain-soaked and controversial Belgian Grand Prix.
“Looking ahead to next season, 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. 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,” adds Russell.
Racing with Mercedes next year, all eyes will be on the 23-year old driver. Will Russell provide support to 7-time champion (or 8-time, depending on how 2021 goes) Hamilton, or will he try to claim the championship for himself? Whatever the case, the 2022 season is shaping up to be an exciting one.