George Russell will be driving for Mercedes from 2022. However, Fernando Alonso believes that the young driver will have to bide his time before challenging Lewis Hamilton.
While all eyes are set on the final three title-deciding races left of the 2021 season, the 2022 season is also almost upon us which will see some big driver moves. Guanyu Zhou’s announcement as Alfa Romeo’s second driver alongside Valtteri Bottas completes the final piece of the puzzle that is the 2022 driver lineup.
George Russell will be partnering with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton as the outgoing Bottas heads to Alfa Romeo. Many have high hopes for the young British driver as he has impressed in his three-year stint at Williams.
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) November 14, 2021
Fernando Alonso, who is one of the appreciators of Russell’s talent has already dubbed him a future champion. However, the Spaniard is of the opinion that it will take some time before Russell can start to challenge Hamilton citing the years of experience under Hamilton’s belt.
“In those two years when I watched the races [during Alonso’s sabbatical], what George achieved with Williams – even if he was not in the headlights – was very impressive,” said Alonso.
“But in terms of beating Lewis, I don’t know how it will work.”
“Even if George has been impressive, Lewis is the legend, a great champion and it is never going to be easy to beat him. It doesn’t matter how talented you are.”
“For sure, it will be closer than it has been with Valtteri, but Lewis will be the main preference in the early part of the championship for Mercedes, no doubt.”
Russell has what it takes
While it is obvious that Russell is not expected to bring the fight to Hamilton from the very get-go, his ability to do so is not in question. Russell has proven to have good race-pace and his qualifying performances have earned him the moniker of “Mr. Saturday’.
Not only that, but the young driver has also shown that he can perform well in the Mercedes machinery in the past. Russell stepped in last year at the Sakhir Grand Prix for a COVID-Positive Lewis Hamilton. If it were not for some botched pit-stops, Russell was easily the favourite for winning that race.
Mercedes next year will have the exciting blend of championship-winning experience and youthful pace.
The team should be strong contenders for the championship once more given that they are able to come out with a strong car in accordance with the brand-new regulations of 2022.
Also read: Toto Wolff reveals Mercedes 2022 project