George Russell and Merc have a bit of a history together, and the imminent move to the works outfit became all the more apparent last year during the Sakhir Grand Prix when he stood in for Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas has recently agreed to a multi-year contract with Sauber, and in his place at Merc, the 23-year-old Brit will team up with LH44.
“Power duo” is how I would describe this lineup, which is the most powerful on the grid and the most explosive as well because Hamilton won’t yield to the newcomer one single inch. Some people say that hindsight is 20/20, and they’re perfectly right. Knowing the aftermath of the Nico-Lewis debacle from 2016, Mercedes will manage George and Lewis better.
“I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step,” declared Russell on his Instagram account. “But it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my teammates and friends at Williams.” The youngster is aware of the difficulties he’ll be facing. “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.”
Between you and me, Russell is a little cheeky with this particular comment because he knows he’s one or two bars above the man he’ll replace at Mercedes-AMG Petronas. Remember the infamous collision at Imola between those two? 32-year-old Valtteri Bottas was nowhere near Lewis Hamilton’s blistering race pace, and getting outperformed by one of the worst cars on the grid says a lot about the talent of the Williams driver.
Toto Wolff, the big kahuna at Mercedes-AMG Petronas, let it slip that choosing Russell over Bottas wasn’t an easy decision or a straightforward process for the championship-winning squad from Brackley. Then again, the co-owner would say that because he used to manage VB77 until 2017.
On that note, is the up-and-coming Russell capable of scoring more points than Hamilton next year? Have your say in the comments section below.