F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season
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Mercedes finally confirmed on Tuesday that George Russell will make the step up from Williams to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022. The official announcement was preceded by Valtteri Bottas’ switch to Alfa Romero on Monday, scheduled for 2022, which essentially made Russell’s move a formality.
It marks a special day for 23-year-old Russell, who has drawn praise from all corners of F1 for his Williams performances to date.
Gaining momentum, the youngster notched his first ever podium in Belgium at the end of August, albeit via a rain-induced technicality.
On an announcement which has been a long time coming, Russell has finally spoken out.
“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions,” he said.
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“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.
“Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs. We’ve battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second.
“No matter how tough it’s been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day.
“I’ve loved every moment in what I’d describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I’ll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way.
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“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.”
“My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud.”
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“Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time.
“I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.
“For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team.
“Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022.
“A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you.”
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