F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season
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George Russell’s move to Mercedes means he will be racing alongside the man who he believes is the best driver F1 has ever seen. Lewis Hamilton is an inspiration to millions of youngsters and wannabe racers across the world, including Russell who wants to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot.
This is the 23-year-old’s third season in the sport, and he has impressed with his progress while essentially being a young Mercedes driver on loan at Williams.
Along with Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, he has been tipped as one of the sport’s future protagonists and is someone who is capable of winning world titles in a competitive car.
Russell will get that car from 2022, it has been confirmed, and he will be racing in the same livery as the man whose success he wants to emulate.
At the Dutch Grand Prix last weekend, the 23-year-old told Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button: “I don’t think any driver would be naive to think they could go up against a seven-time world champion and have it easy.
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“Because a guy like Lewis is who he is because of his speed and determination.
“But that’s every driver’s dream – and I’ve said that for the last three years that it would be my dream to be team-mates with Lewis, because I want to learn from the best and I want to go up against the best.
“Let’s see what next year brings.”
Russell has been hailed publicly by some of the biggest names in the sport, including future team-mate Hamilton and his current title rival Verstappen.
Their praise means a lot to the King’s Lynn racer, and he had a bold claim to make about the man he will be joining at Mercedes in 2022.
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“These are guys that I respect a huge amount,” Russell said. “Lewis is obviously the greatest of all time and Max, everyone knows how fast and talented he is.
“So to hear those comments is always a nice feeling. But equally, these comments don’t make you faster on track.”
What will make him faster on track is his new car, though a swathe of technical rule changes which will come into force next year could change the complexion of the grid completely.
Russell backed Williams to be able to cope well without him in 2022, adding: “I think next year is going to be an exciting year for Formula One. And I’m glad to be here.”
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