Official: Russell to join Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022

2022 F1 season

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George Russell will drive for Mercedes in the 2022 F1 season as part of a new, long-term deal, the team has confirmed.

The 23-year-old will replace Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate in the world champions’ line-up. Alfa Romeo announced yesterday Bottas will join them next season.

Russell will join the team from Williams, who he will remain with until the end of the year.

“The past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.

“I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead.”

Russell has been a member of Mercedes’ junior driver programme since 2017 and had his first appearance in an official F1 practice session later that year with Mercedes engine customer Force India. After winning the GP3 (now Formula 3) and Formula 2 championships in consecutive seasons Russell made his Formula 1 race debut with another Mercedes customer, Williams, in 2019.

He said the announcement of his move to Mercedes was “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,” said Russell, “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.

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“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.”

However Russell admitted he was “absolutely buzzing” to join the world champions.

“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.”

He has already driven for Mercedes once before: Russell made a one-off appearance for Mercedes in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix as a substitute for Hamilton, who contracted Covid-19. Russell qualified on the front row alongside Bottas, led 59 laps, and was leading when the team accidentally fit the wrong set of tyres to his car during a pit stop.

Russell described his new team mate as “the greatest driver of all time” and someone he has admired throughout his junior career.

“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.”

Russell was told he would join the team next year prior to the Belgian Grand Prix. Russell produced another notable performance at Spa, qualifying second on the grid and claiming the position in the drastically curtailed race which was run entirely behind the Safety Car.

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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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118 comments on “Official: Russell to join Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022”

  1. Excellent. Let the games commence!

  2. YES!
    Do me proud George.
    Lewis! he is your son, look after him.

    1. LOL! I post while drunk sometimes too!

    2. Ahah, star wars references, huh?

  3. Lovely. Next year we will have the answer to the question.
    Is Russell in the same Verstappen/Leclerc bracket.
    We sure will find out…

    1. I think that question is already answered if we only talk about raw speed and talent. Doubt he could beat Hamilton at this point over a whole season just next year already but will surely be much more headache than Bottas

      1. There’s no body of work to look at where you can objectively use to say Russell can/will/should beat Hamilton.

        That isn’t to say the talent isnt there.

        1. Assuming Bottas is consistent, Sakhir gave a solid pointer as to how close Russell should be to Hamilton especially considering the obstacles Russell faced that weekend.

          1. One race is far from a solid pointer and meaningless from a statistical standpoint

          2. @trublu

            How about out qualifying Hamilton in a Mercedes while driving a Williams?

            I’m not saying that I’m convinced that Russell will beat Hamilton.. but he’s definitely got the speed, talent and youth to get the job done. I reckon he’d be Hamilton’s toughest teammate since Alonso.

        2. And let us not forget, that next year they’ll be in a completely different car. It’s a re-set

        3. Baku is one of Bottas’ consistently strong circuits and while the layout was different, it wasn’t significantly so. At worst, we can say it was as quick as Bottas is expected to do on average. Now, Russell jumped in with to the best of my knowledge, no experience of driving that car, he couldn’t fit in the car and didn’t even know what buttons did what. So one could argue it would’ve been a poor race by Russell’s standards. Yet, Russell (from memory) was about just as quick as Bottas was in qualifying (and Bottas is a terrific qualifier) and was much faster over the race despite being constantly screwed over by Mercedes. So imagine, what he could do in a car he fits in and has experience in. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say he’d easily be better then Bottas and has a decent chance of being competitive with Hamilton. Will he be able to beat him? Maybe, maybe not, as you said we don’t know. There’s also the factor of if he can handle the pressure and be consistent, and while his F2 championship would suggest he could, that was now a few years ago and F1 is a decent beast. I think it’s realistic to expect him to put up a fight at least.

        4. Based on the small difference between Bottas (epiphany of mediocracy) and Hamilton in quali you can easily deduct Lewis’ pole positions are over. They will go to George. Race wise Ham has always been significantly better than Bottas so that we’ll have to learn. I think both Lewis and Max lose out by this promotion as they used to fight between them but now George will have the best package and age advantage over Lewis.

    2. Might just be me, but I don’t see Leclerc in the same Hamilton/Verstappen bracket yet. Latter two have not just the talent, but conquered the learning curve, and are performing consistently.

      There is a Norris/Leclerc bracket IMO in which Russell could fit easily. The question is now who will first rise above that bracket in consistent performance. My current bet is on Norris, but Russell could prove to be on a super fast learning curve.

      1. jff Yeah I don’t categorize Leclerc with Max either. Max is a cut above.

        So much with GR is going to come down to the car, the competition, and taking all things into account, his role on the team. All drivers new to their teams next year will have a better opportunity than normal against their teammates as the car will be new for the engrained drivers too. Let’s see where the teams are amongst each other. Eg. If by chance it starts out as another Max/LH duel then it won’t be long before GR has to take a back seat to LH and not rob him of points. As SP will not able to do so for Max. It’s going to be so interesting and such an unknown in the off-season. What huge anticipation there will be as next March approaches, or even pre-season testing for that matter. So fascinating to see these cars and hear what the drivers think.

        1. Well, the first season at RBR was a close call for verstappen imho… one or 2 races with a DNF/crash or whatever and he would be out (maybe a second chance @TR). He survived (and thrived) though. Leclerc made some mistakes, yet nothing major, online verstappen. One can argue if that is because he was or is (too) cautious…. or because he was more mature racing craft wise. He certainly impressed me at some races !

          I think you can’t compare one with the other without them being in the same team/car.

          1. Online = unlike :|

          2. I think verstappen was never in danger of losing red bull seat, they look at speed more than not making mistakes, mistakes can be but, speed has to be there.

        2. I think leclerc is every bit as good as verstappen, just needs some more exp to cut the mistakes, like verstappen did, and don’t forget verstappen became more careful this year especially because he’s fighting for the title, give leclerc a title contender and we’ll see.

      2. Might just be me, but I don’t see Leclerc in the same Hamilton/Verstappen bracket yet. Latter two have not just the talent, but conquered the learning curve, and are performing consistently.

        To be fair.. Verstappen got his consistency and learning curve only in the 2nd half of 2018. He had already spent 3.5 seasons in F1 before that… where he had a fair amount of tangles, mistakes, etc. Leclerc Leclerc has just finished his 3.5 seasons as well.. so let’s see how he performs next season onwards before drawing conclusions.

        Lewis probably had the fastest learning curve of all the drivers I’ve come across. He was on it from his first season itself.. although he did have some patchy seasons with errors in 2008 and 2011.

    3. I bet Leclerc wishes he was in the Ver/Leclerc bracket.

  4. Oh my God! I was not expecting this!

    1. You can’t be as shocked as I am

    2. Wow! No. Me neither..

    3. Really? They’ve been hinting at it for weeks.

      1. Did they?
        I guess I missed that….

      2. Your irony sensor might need a new battery.

  5. Leonard ‘Big Lenny’ Persin (@)
    7th September 2021, 10:12

    Zero excitement as a result of it being dragged out for weeks/ months. I am looking forward to the dynamics and competition between the two though.

  6. I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

  7. Finally. Worst kept secret, but I couldn’t be happy until it was 100% confirmed.

  8. Bring on 2022. Ham/Rus in Mercedes Lec/Sai in Ferrari, Ver/Per in Red Bull, Nor/Ric in Mclaren, Alo/Oco in Alpine. It is going to be an interesting season.

    1. ham alo and ric got to go. its a new era.

      1. They’ve still got it, let’s see them get a handle on the new cars like everyone else. You never know what their past experience might bring.

    2. Brand new cars as well – so a complete reset on that front.

  9. I feel shocked

  10. Out of the blue! /s

  11. Long-awaited news. Can anyone tell when was the last time a top team had both drivers coming from the same country?

    1. By “top team” I guess you could count McLaren with Button and Hamilton during the early 2010s.

    2. McLaren from 2010-2012 I think. Lewis and Jenson

    3. If you’re looking for a Constructors Championship winning team that year, then technically 1994 Williams counts, albeit with caveats.

      Damon Hill was team mates with Nigel Mansell and David Coulthard, although this only came about due to the passing of Ayrton Senna part way through the year.

    4. Mercedes had Rosberg and Schumacher at the same time as McLaren had Button and Hamilton.

      1. Mercedes until 1 year after hamilton came doesn’t qualify as top team.

  12. yes George! go get ’em!!

  13. This news even puts more pressure on Verstappen and Red Bull to win this year.

    1. If Russell really performs on Hamiltons level or even higher, I only see more pressure inside Mercedes, a potential toxic athmosphere and team mates taking points from each other. In that case Toto Wolff will have the hardest job next year to avoid something like McLaren 2007.

      1. You mean the 2016 season?

      2. d0senbrot what?? There will be no chance of a toxic atmosphere! The only people who are pushing for this are the gutter press, ‘drama’ obsessed sky sports and HAM haters who want to see him fail for obvious reasons. Do people forget that Lewis will be 37 at the start of the 2022 season with lots of life experience and almost 2 decades full time racing behind him in the cut throat world of Motorsports?
        Lewis has seen almost every trick in the book and RUS has been nothing more than a professional young talent and why would he suddenly change at Merc?

        The toxic environment at Mclaren only happened due to the older more experienced drivers politics wise from Button and Alonso who used back room politics when they couldn’t beat Lewis on track.
        Alonso ratted to the FIA resulting in a €100m+ fine for the team all because Ron Dennis didn’t kiss his feet and Fernando’s paranoid delusional conspiracy that the British team gave Lewis a faster car and Ron was sabotaging his…this cost the team the 2007 constructors championship and Lewis WDC

        Button was more subtle, he had a nice smile but behind that he was a cut throat tactician, he was close friends with new team principal Martin Whitmarsh( useless Martin was the one who donated merc engines to Ross Brawn when Honda pulled out of F1 much to the anger of ex team principal Ron Dennis who stepped down to work on the road car division..) and built a rapport with the paddock “lads” and backroom staff at MTC to mould the team around him eventually making the team so toxic for Lewis he was ‘forced’ out and the rest is history..

        TL;DR there will be no politics and if RUS beats GOAT HAM fair and square fair play to him!

        1. @ccpbioweapon Spot on about Button and Whitmarsh! While he was not fired from McLaren, Hamilton may as well have been. I will never understand how a team would ever choose Button when he was being lapped over Hamilton.

          I still remember an interview where Lewis was wondering what had happened in the race. He should have won the race and somehow McLaren had managed to pull the win from him.

          1. @freelittlebirds

            Spot on about Button and Whitmarsh! While he was not fired from McLaren, Hamilton may as well have been. I will never understand how a team would ever choose Button when he was being lapped over Hamilton.

            How did McLaren choose Button over Hamilton in 2012? Which one is the narrative now?

          2. @rodewulf Well if you were already watching F1 during that season you would have known.

        2. @ccpbioweapon Hamilton feuded or fell out with almost all team mates and to say with a straight face that it was always the fault of the others is just funny, but what can you expect..

      3. @d0Senbrot it’ll never be toxic for Lewis – the team has enjoyed so much success together and Lewis has mentioned the team like a broken record giving credit to folks at the factory every chance he has. Almost the entire team has been on the podium with Lewis. I can’t imagine Mercedes supporting Russell over Lewis even if it means losing points. I think George needs to be aware of that. His driving skills will be secondary to his interpersonal skills as he needs to build relationships. The good news is that he has time to showcase his skills – he doesn’t need to feel under pressure from day 1. He can settle into Mercedes at his own pace which is a luxury that almost no driver has enjoyed at a top team.

    2. I think Max will smile with this news! While George is good in Qualifly racing is a different ball game and if the cars are the same Lewis is the one encountering him the most. Max has a faster or slower car then he can keep out the battle of those 2.

      1. @macleod Let’s first see if they let GR race LH or if he will be initially taking a student role to be mindful of the Mercedes ‘global perspective.’ All depends on where the cars are competitively of course but I can see GR’s main role being to disrupt Max whenever possible, and not rob points from LH.

        1. @robbie We’ll have to wait and see but I doubt they brought in George to disrupt max whenever possible. I think George will have the opportunity to race against many talented drivers in a much quicker car than the Williams. Will he end up fighting with Max? I’m sure George can’t wait for that to happen as he’s been dreaming of it for 3 years.

          1. @freelittlebirds Oh for sure but the golden question is will he be fighting LH, or will he be an aid to LH’s fight against Max. I’m not saying they have bright him in solely to disrupt Max for LH. Ultimately imho he is there to be the heir apparent when LH retires. But the fascinating part is what happens while LH is still there.

      2. @macleod Why would Verstappen smile if potentially two cars will be ahead of him instead of one?

    3. @krichelle

      I’d think even more pressure on Red Bull to secure a WCC. No way they can secure a title next year with Perez driving for them.

  14. It could be too late for Russell for a chance at a WDC as there is no guarantee Mercedes will be competitive in 2022 with the new rule changes.

    I really wish he was in for 2021.

    1. I think Verstappen would’ve been way ahead in the championship if it was Russel in place of Hamilton.

      1. Hamilton has been relatively terrible so far this season, I have a hard time, as inexperienced as russell is, believing he’d have done worse.

  15. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    7th September 2021, 11:04

    Shocked Pikachu face

  16. I wish this article just said the words –

    “Fudging finally!*

  17. Who is this guy?
    Is he any good?
    He is going to have his work cut out to match Bottas’s performance!

  18. The first Mercedes junior since Schumacher to end up at a Mercedes F1 Team.

    Well done George!

  19. Wow! Where did that come from?

    1. Yea, I know. We have all known it was 2 + 2 = ? for months. But none of us could have guessed the answer was 4.

  20. Wow that’s out of the blue :))
    OK so that will give Merc potentially the best driver line up for 2022.

    1. I think we can state it outright!

      We F1 fans deserve a season like this years and potentially next year after many boring seasons.

  21. Stephen Higgins
    7th September 2021, 11:29

    He’ll be hoping Merc don’t drop the ball with the new regs…

    1. Even if they do, it’ll always be a competitive team, like ferrari, where the worst season was 2020 (more or less), which would be a dream for some teams, and that will allow us to see a russell-hamilton comparison.

  22. Congrats and all the best!

  23. I hope to Russel the best. He must be calm and learn from the Master.

    1. But he’s not teaming up with Fernando?…

  24. It was inevitable, even before Bahrain last year, but I always got the feeling that Mercedes were waiting for Hamilton to retire in a bid to avoid these two being teammates. I’m glad it’s happened though as I think Russell has got the talent to be up there at the sharp end of the grid.

    I think he’ll have the beating of his teammate in quali for the majority of races next year as I don’t think Hamilton has the same 1 lap edge that he had in his early 20s, but in terms of race pace and craft George has still got it all to prove against one of the best.

    At some point Hamilton is going to have to call it quits as he won’t be able to physically keep up with the younger guys. I think he’s already passed his peak, and I suspect Russell’s arrival will probably push him to do that sooner rather than later.

    Russell / Verstappen / Leclerc / Norris… What a great list of potential future world champions.

    1. The older drivers like Alonso or Hamilton are set to benefit from the rules change, as it will decrease the cornering speed and G-loads of F1 cars significantly. This will buy them some extra time in the sport.

      1. Just curious, where did you read that the cornering speed and g-loads will decrease significantly?

        1. Lower downforce -> Lower cornering speeds.

  25. Wow
    I just did NOT see that coming.

  26. Finally we know, now how do I tell my granny she was not chosen?

  27. You mean Merc are not having Alonso! Blimey!

    1. @phil-f1-21
      Unfortunately (or not) that was already out of the cards with Alonso officially extending his deal with Alpine for the 2022 season at Spa.

      1. @rodewulf
        Alonso is not going to join Mercedes unless both Hamilton and Wolff retire. The Alonso card was only used by Toto Wolff after Rosberg’s retirement to force Hamilton to ease his demands. Hamilton was publicly not in favour of Alonso joining Mercedes for team dynamics reasons. After Hamilton’s contract extension in 2018, Wolff admitted in an interview – contradicting himself as always – that Alonso was never on his list because he has a history with the Mercedes brand.

        1. @tifoso1989
          Yeah, that’s true. No need to delude ourselves. Hamilton fears being soundly beaten by another rooster, despite the fact that he doesn’t admit it, but otherwise he would not block moves with the “team harmony” convenient excuse and delay this type of fight as long as he could. Alonso was perfectly a match for him at the same team over the whole season despite a relatively irregular performance in Alonso’s standards (the notorious 2007 McLaren partnership), so Hamilton is kind of right by wishing to protect his image against a challenge even worse than a not-very-seasoned two times champion with an ego a bit more inflated than he should back that time, impatient just like his teammate.
          Taking that into perspective, facing the same guy after all his old rival had to overcome on track during double-digit number of seasons would be more stressful than what Rosberg felt in 2016, and even if he fared well against that threat it wouldn’t bring much more good for his legacy either, as he’s already 7 times world champion and has most of the press and a legion of blind worshipers behind him, a people who generally doesn’t fully grasp how Formula 1 works. For most of them, outperforming Verstappen or Alonso with the same machinery over a season is nearly the same feat as beating Bottas again, it’d be just another WDC, because they held LH in a pedestal so high that anyone else pales in comparision. If today they think that Hamilton was far superior than his formidable opposition in 2007 (utterly lie), what’s the difference anyway?
          Of course Hamilton actually improved from his rookie years onwards, but Alonso improved more. Statistics easily prove this, as Fernando performed clearly better in the next years with some inferior machinery, and the very fact that HAM fans fetichise so much over his rookie year is a blatant proof of that.

    2. Alonso gets beaten too easily by rookies, and takes the credit when his team mate wins. Given the way he stuck to Ocon like glue during the slow down lap and stole Ocon’s limelight in parc ferme, I was half expecting him to muscle his way onto the podium next to Ocon.

      1. that’s ridic. he was only beaten by a rookie once … and not “too easily” by any stretch of imagination…

      2. ian dearing

        Given the way he stuck to Ocon like glue during the slow down lap and stole Ocon’s limelight in parc ferme, I was half expecting him to muscle his way onto the podium next to Ocon.

        Awesome narrative, nice projection of malice. But if you’d ask Ocon if he felt outshined by Alonso on that situation the answer would probably be a lot different. You just want to fabricate polemical topics, whilst dishonestly trying to hide the plain obvious ones about your idol put by you over there in a pedestal.

  28. Given the focus (and spend) on next years development from Merc vs Red Bull – I think he’s made an excellent choice.

    Here’s to many more years of dominance.

  29. Well for Russell’s sake, I hope Mercedes doesn’t do a Ferrari 2009 with the new regulations. Here’s hoping he can have a genuine shot at it. It’d be surprising if Mercedes wasn’t fighting for the championship but I suppose stranger things have happened!

    1. Ferrari 2009 won a race, that would be a considerable improvement over a williams 2021.

  30. Russell has shown that he has the pace in the Mercedes. He now needs to temper that pace with the experience he has gained. I don’t know the length of the contract but I hope it’s a multi-year contract so that Russell doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of having to prove himself from day 1. He can ease himself into Mercedes without all the pressures that Valtteri had.

    I think the most important thing is that he needs to become a part of the team realizing that many, if not all the people he’ll meet, have stood on the podium with Lewis at one point or another. It’s going to take time for him to win people over and Mercedes isn’t a team that cares about a single point like Williams.

    I think his interpersonal skills may be as important for him as his driving skills. Being a Brit will certainly help him build relationships at Mercedes and there’s a difference between being a great driver and being a flashy driver. Being in a Mercedes, he’ll now have plenty of chances to make his point against the likes of Fernando, Seb, Max, Charles, Carlos, Lando, Daniel, and Pierre. There’s no shortage of competition out there.

  31. Mercedes are going to be so much fun to watch next season. They will either be dominant if they get the aero right and Lewis and George push each other and the team to greater heights, or they could implode if they don’t get the aero right and Lewis and George start clashing with each other. If they do clash, it’ll be interesting to see how the British public reacts. Which driver will they side with? What mental games will be played out between them? Will Toto have to institute team orders? Personally, I think the Rosberg/Hamilton clashes are going to be nothing compared to the Hamilton/Russell clashes once George gets settled in with the team.

    1. It’s easy to look at the Rosberg/Hamilton rivalry and think we are on the track to seeing it once again with Russell’s arrival.

      Hamilton has 7 WDCs, has led Mercedes to one of the most dominant stretches in F1 history. If he loses to Russell, then he’s also lost to Father Time. I would see this incoming partnership as more analogous to Schumacher/Rosberg, minis MSC’s extended break.

      1. Ok. I can replace it with Senna/Prost or Mansel/Prost or clashes. It doesn’t really matter. The point is there were clashes between two alpha drivers on the same team on and off the track and it spiced up the championship.

      2. It will be interesting to see how this season affects Hamilton’s next. I would imagine that he would like to break the 7 WDC record and if he does this year, I can see him being a bit more relaxed next year. If he has to do it next year then it becomes something different for him. Assuming he cares of course, he doesn’t have to prove anything at this point. But he is so close, just one more!

    2. Yes, it’s a different dynamic. When Hamilton joined Mercedes, Rosberg had already been with the team for many years and had outscored Schumacher. That didn’t diminish Schumacher but it certainly elevated Rosberg’s status as a driver capable of competing with any driver.

      Hamilton was the outsider but Mercedes had new leadership so in a manner of speaking Rosberg didn’t have much of an advantage despite his longer stint at Mercedes. The Hamilton/Rosberg rivalry will always be one of the most dramatic rivalries in F1.

      At this point, Lewis is a 7-time WDC with double centuries. Mercedes is not a new team – they’re now on the verge of establishing themselves as the most successful team in the sport. Next season, the team will literally have a decade of racing with Lewis. They’re as inextricably tied as any team can be. I think most would choose to bleed before they disrespect Lewis. I suspect the bond that exists between driver and team at this point is nearly unbreakable.

      1. @freelittlebirds

        Mercedes is not a new team – they’re now on the verge of establishing themselves as the most successful team in the sport

        They do hold the record for the most consecutive titles as a team though they share it as engine manufacturer with Ford. However, that doesn’t mean they are the most successful team in the sport. That’s a long way to go because they are with Lotus the 4th successful F1 team with 7 titles behind McLaren (8 titles), Williams (9 titles) and Ferrari (16 titles).

        1. @tifoso1989 I do stand corrected :-)

          1. @freelittlebirds
            It’s no big deal :)

      2. @freelittlebirds Personally I never really thought of LH as an ‘outsider’ when he went to Merc, for they likely had lots of data on him from having always had Merc engines behind him at Mac. As an aside I was one of the ones who thought LH was making exactly the right move, not only because I thought it was time for him to leave the Mac nest, but because I believed Brawn when he said where a driver would want to be for 2014 was with a factory team.

        1. @robbie vis-a-vis Rosberg, we can say he was the outsider but, then again, a lot of changes were happening at Mercedes that Rosberg’s seniority didn’t really count, much to Rosberg’s dismay.

  32. No more dull “team harmony” finally! (Well, we hope so…)
    It can take some time, but Russell has what it takes to dethrone Hamilton from being all-powerful in Mercedes the same way Leclerc deposed Vettel from Ferrari. Remember how much of a resistance from team establishiment he faced in 2019.

  33. Now give Norris that Perez Red Bull seat, and we have a 4 way fiesta in 2022.

  34. Adding insult to injury for Bottas – MB gives a long term contract to Russell according to the offical F1 article on the signing, so long they won’t even share it yet. Whereas MB never gave Bottas more than a 1 year contract. I’m thinking the outcome of the fast lap for 1 point might end differently next time if Bottas hasn’t been completely neutered.

    1. And then he really needs a radio message: “james, it’s valtteri!”.

  35. “The past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.

    “I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead.”

    Notice how for Wolff it’s all about Russell with Hamilton, and how he must deliver OFF the track as much as on it, which of course means he is expected to follow the Mercedes ‘values’ and be a good little wingman without making a fuss about it.

    Of course Russell is a clever boy and will know full well what’s coming, and hopefully he is clever enough to realize that the only hope for him is to take it full on to Hamilton/Wolff straight away, and use the media to his advantage.

    1. For Toto and George……..careful what you wish for you just might get it (and it will be a lot different than you imagined it would be).

    2. @balue
      If Russell wants to stand a chance against Hamilton and Wolff, he has to do “a Leclerc” and be on Hamilton’s pace since race 1. If he is constantly breathing down Hamilton’s neck or even ahead of him then Wolff won’t be able to hold him off for so long.

      1. Absolutely, the leclerc way is the only way!

      2. @tifoso1989

        If he is constantly breathing down Hamilton’s neck or even ahead of him then Wolff won’t be able to hold him off for so long.

        Pretty much true! Even when Leclerc did abide to team orders he bounced back stronger against Vettel. How in hell would they issue a switch order if he’s winning the race and the established team mate is running third, for instance?
        Furthermore, he needs interpersonal skills at Mercedes as @freaklittlebirds said but not for the reason he meant: if team orders have to be called, he need to benefit from that in a way, by bargaining or even taking the issue to the media. It would be too ugly for Toto to bear if they’d overtly drain Russell’s championship points, given the fame he’s already built for himself.
        All in all, this is exciting. I’m glad that Hamilton didn’t retire or else it’d be less fun. His empire has to end on track, not outside of it. He’s more attached to hollow stats than to give the maximum in cutthroat competition, but at least he’s not a coward runaway when things finally would become trickier against him.

  36. Ham is going to be played like a fiddle by George. His intelligence alone will make his ‘experienced’ teammate look very, very ordinary.

    1. Nandy

      History very much suggests otherwise. Rosberg was widely tipped to get the better of Hamilton, due in part to his huge brain, but Lewis was quite plainly the better of the two.

  37. I 100% believe George will take more points from Lewis than Valtteri did, this will make it more difficult for Lewis to dominate and the relationship between drivers will sour as it did with Nico. This time Lewis will be the bad guys as the future lays with George (Watch this space)
    From a Merc’ perspective the higher average finishing position across the two will boost their Manufacturers Champ’ credentials even more than they have been.
    I see the decision to employ George as a buffer to Lewis retiring while maintaining the high level at Merc’.
    The next question is, who replaces Lewis in a few years?

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