F1’s worst kept secret finally came out on Tuesday after it was confirmed that George Russell would replace Alfa Romeo bound Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes for the 2022 season. It comes as a big step up for the young Brit, moving from Williams to the constructor giants.
Russell has spent the past two full seasons, and the current campaign, with Williams but will join Mercedes as Bottas’ successor next term. Russell is extremely highly rated and is expected to compete for world titles in the future, and clearly Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has plenty of trust in him.
Following his move, Russell insisted it was a ‘special’ day for him both ‘personally and professionally’ before admitting he was ‘buzzing’ about his F1 transfer where he would race alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. And after it was confirmed, Hamilton’s brother Nicolas decided to weigh in, posting a joke on Instagram that he was to replace Russell at Williams. Nicolas wrote on his social media page: “HAMILTON TO REPLACE @georgerussell63 at @williamsracing for 2022!”@mercedesamgf1 begged for me, but I said I would be too fast for @lewishamilton!”
His brother Lewis noticed the amusing post straight away, and had his say on the Hamilton double trouble. The Mercedes star replied on Instagram: “What a nightmare two Hamilton’s would be. “Russell’s move to Mercedes may be the hot talking point at present, but when the F1 circuit rolls round to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix, game faces will be on full show again. Hamilton has a huge battle on his hands to successfully defend his world title with Max Verstappen proving a massive threat to his dominance.
Hamilton held a slender lead over his Red Bull rival Verstappen before the Dutch Grand Prix. However, Verstappen’s memorable victory in front of his home fans at Zandvoort means he now sits a narrow three points above the Brit.it is all to play for still and Hamilton will be desperate for revenge in Italy this weekend as he looks to land a fifth consecutive world title.
Following the Italian Grand Prix, there are eight races remaining – with the F1 travelling party heading to Russia next after a week’s break.