After a long period of speculation, Valtteri Bottas’ replacement for Lewis Hamilton’s teammate is finally ready: 23-year-old George Russell from Great Britain.
This was confirmed by Mercedes in a press release. The 23-year-old Briton replaced Finn Valtteri Bottas, who announced on Monday that he will be Alfa Romeo’s driver next season.
“This is a special day for me and I want to say a big thank you to Williams, Mercedes and everyone who helped me get to where I am today,” Russell said on his Twitter account.
Russell is expected to move from Williams to Mercedes, as the Briton was part of the Mercedes academy and was their reserve driver when needed. He became a teammate with compatriot Lewis Hamilton, who is currently chasing his eighth World Cup title.
– This was not surprising at all. Mercedes coach Toto Wolff exited early and said it would be either Bottas or Russell next season. F1 commentator Attlee Gulbrandsen says he has been in the cards for a long time, was a junior driver for Mercedes and had a contract with them.
Bottas has long expressed his dissatisfaction with the position at Mercedes, second to Lewis Hamilton. For his part, Russell will take over as Mercedes in the 2022 season.
Russell says in a press release.
Gulbrandsen is not sure Russell will be Mercedes’ apparent second driver.
– If he struggles to catch up with Hamilton, he could potentially become a co-driver. But if he proves he’s fast from the start, he can gain a more or less equal footing, says Gulbrandsen, and continues:
– If he really challenges his Russell, it could lead to Lewis Hamilton’s surrender. There was a good chemistry between Hamilton and Bottas, since Hamilton controlled Bottas well. The harmony could thus be made worse, if it turns out that Russell is challenging this position.
Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s World Cup rival, said last week Race That it would be “very difficult” for Hamilton if Russell came to Mercedes.
He notes that Russell had made a fine entry into Bahrain in December 2020 – after Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19.
– If Russell comes, he’ll make it very difficult for Lewis. I mean, he hopped in the car in Bahrain and was already there from round one, so you can just imagine the more experience you get in that car, the more he used to be the team, the faster he gets.
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