Hamilton: Russell has earned his place at Mercedes

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton has welcomed new team mate George Russell to Mercedes, saying the 23-year-old has earned his chance to join the world champions.

Mercedes confirmed today Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas in their line-up for the 2022 F1 season.

Russell was racing in karts when he first met Hamilton, who was driving for McLaren at the time. “I remember meeting him when he was young, dreaming of one day being a Formula 1 driver,” Hamilton wrote on social media. “I’d only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him.

“He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly. Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot on our team.

“I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise Mercedes higher.”

Russell’s move to Mercedes will create a vacancy at Williams. Former Red Bull driver Alexander Albon and Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries, who is linked to Mercedes, are among those believed to be in the running for the seat.

Report: Hamilton eager to go up against “incredibly talented” Russell at Mercedes
“We were of course aware of this possibility coming to fruition and therefore have a number of strong driver options available to us,” said Williams CEO Jost Capito. “We now look forward to shaping our future line-up that will help us take the next step in our exciting journey as a team and will make any announcement in due course.”

Capito thanked Russell, who has spent three seasons with the team and delivered their best result for nine years at Spa-Francorchamps last month.

“Over the past three years, it’s been clear to every member of staff here at Williams just how dedicated, focused, and talented George is through his contributions to the team both on and off track. He has all the characteristics necessary to achieve the greatest success in our sport and we are therefore delighted for him, both as a team and me personally, to see him rewarded with the opportunity to test himself at Mercedes.

“We will watch his progress with interest and pride, knowing the role Williams has played in developing his considerable skills.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Hamilton: Russell has earned his place at Mercedes”

  1. Best line up on grid for 2022 amd then some.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. Can’t wait for 2022 now.

    2. This may be one of the most important driver changes in Grand Prix history. The future is set now to continue their dominance through the rest of the great ones time and now a viable young future leader of the Black Silver Arrows. All good stuff. Bottas gets a supportive goodbye and now we wait to see if and by how much George can do against

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  2. 2007 redux, only with HAM having 60-odd GPs under his belt in that scenario.
    Here’s hoping RUS isn’t handicapped through excessive team orders!

    1. you know, in a way 2007 was really fun… i wouldnt mind the drama… i dont think Russel will turn out to be as much of a diva as Alonso but you never know…

      1. @nickthegreek i see that the other way around. Will Lewis be Alonso 2007 and George the disruptor Lewis 2007.

        1. Yes, I said this too in another article, it’s also normal because of age.

  3. If Hamilton wins his eighth title, he could retire as a legend at the end of the year, and Russell would not be able to potentially diminish his legacy in any way possible.

    1. If. Its still too close to call….

    2. Russell beating Hamilton wouldn’t diminish Lewis’s legacy – certainly nowhere near as much as if he ran away from a the challenge.

      Hamilton’s legacy is on being open of the best drivers to ever drive an F1 car. If Russell beats him, it says a lot about Russell but it won’t change things for Lewis – he’d still be one of the best.

      1. @petebaldwin I am not so sure about that. On the one hand, Hamilton has achieved so many things in his long career, and many people will recognize that even if Russell does beat him next season. On the other hand, judging by the comments after one race last year in which Hamilton did not even participate, some people are very willing to write him off as an average driver who lucked into a good car at Mercedes.

        1. I think it is both. Excellent driver. Very lucky as well with the car dominance. In ‘regular’ circumstances wrt the cars he’d be good for 3 to 4 WDC. The rest is circumstances/luck or rather lack of capability at other teams to develop a car that can challenge the Mercedes.

  4. The “British Classic” awaits.

    1. Imagine next season merc messed up and end up losing to a faster williams.

      1. Oops meant to comment on a new thread

      2. Keep imagining @f1fan-2000. Wake up in time for the actual season.

          1. Not for that particular fellow.

        1. Emma
          Keep imagining @f1fan-2000. Wake up in time for the actual season.
          Can you predict the future? It’s unlikely but not impossible.

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  5. Lol a bit amusing to read LH sounding like 2022 will be GR’s first year in F1.

    1. It sort of will be Robbie. Imagine the pressure jumping from bowels of the Williams dream ride to the actual dream ride itself. I expect him to really show his stuff in 23.

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      1. Yeah for sure but I think good pressure though. The kind of pressure he et al dream of having the good fortune of experiencing. From what we’ve seen of him, and of course depending on the usual factors, I expect him to be pretty on it from the getgo, and he does have the luxury of ‘doing no wrong’ in his first season there. Bested by LH and it’s no surprise, best LH and it’s gravy. And yet, such a unique season coming up next year with the massive change to the cars. Already can’t wait.

  6. This will be like Leclerc and Vetter, team orders will be in place for the first few races until Merc realise there is nothing they can do to stop George embarrassing the so called “greatest of all time”

    1. George vs Max it is, joined by Charles & Lando. Great times ahead now George takes over at Mercedes. I definitely do not agree with this loat classification of Lewis. Way too much chip in by the car in this case. 3 to 4 WDC if you take that element away. So a great but not the goat. I doubt George will have difficulties with him

    2. Bit of a worry for Max though given where both he and Ham tend to start on the grid and finish the race when neither has an issue. Given the small gaps between the pair its going to be hard for people to claim George is dominating Ham whilst at the same time George is finishing behind Max. So if he ends up dominating the pair the story won’t be him beating the guy who is nearing the exit door, but beating the wonderkid from next door.
      Although if George doesn’t dominate Ham we can accuse the team of undermining him, giving him a poorer car, or sabotaging his race. A win win the way I see it.

      1. I expect George to beat both Hamilton and Verstappen if Mercedes keeps the edge in 2022. 2022 will show whether Verstappen made the right call to stay at RedBull or not. Personally I don’t think RedBull can deliver a champion winning car. They couldnt for the last 7 years so I don’t see Newey suddenly re-inventing himself and therefore neither re-inventing a WCC car. Max could have to wait another 5 years, easily if they’ve got it wrong once again.

  7. Perez will give Max a run for his money they said…now it is Russell. Remember Bottas was fast at Williams and BTW I still think Bottas is one of the fastest drivers out there MAx and Lewis are once in a generation guys. Alonso is excellent but MAx and Lewis? Watch this guys Russel get his confidence built up and then destroyed. Such a shame..

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