I don’t think any driver would be naive to think they could go up against a seven-time world champion”– George Russell on fighting Lewis Hamilton.
With Valtteri Bottas’ announced move to Alfa Romeo in 2022, it is apparent that George Russell is going to Mercedes after the end of this season to partner with his compatriot.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 6, 2021
So far, for Hamilton, Bottas has been an ideal teammate, but there were suspicions over Russell performing the same role, but his recent selflessness in the Hungarian GP busted the myth, and now he claims he first has to learn from the best.
‘I don’t think any driver would be naive to think they could go up against a seven-time world champion and have it easy,’ said Russell. ‘Because a guy like Lewis is who he is because of his speed and determination.’
‘But that’s every driver’s dream – and I’ve said that for the last three years that it would be my dream to be team-mates with Lewis, because I want to learn from the best and I want to go up against the best. Let’s see what next year brings.’
Russell is evidently Mercedes’ future post-Hamilton era, and Toto Wolff probably thinks that this is the right time for Mercedes to deploy Russell.
It wasn’t an easy decision
After Bottas’ announced exit for 2022, Wolff, in a statement, revealed that it wasn’t an easy decision to make and praised Finn’s services over the years.
‘This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us. Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.’
‘Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two teammates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success.’
‘He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport; when the time comes.’
‘He will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family.’