George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is excited about his partnership with George Russell next season after it was confirmed he would leave Williams at the end of the 2021 term to join Mercedes. The young Brit’s arrival at the constructor giants is the huge news in F1 currently ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
Speculation was rife surrounding the future of the Mercedes No 2 seat – with youngster Russell vying for the final spot with the experienced Valtteri Bottas.
However after weeks and weeks of deliberation, Mercedes opted to go for the future in Russell with Bottas joining Alfa Romeo at the end of the season, where he will replace Kimi Raikkonen.
Despite finding it difficult near the back of the grid with Williams since he started racing for them in 2019, Russell has impressed many within the paddock this season and at the back end of last campaign.
When replacing Hamilton who was struck down with Covid last season at the Sakhir Grand Prix, Russell was on the brink of glory only for a tyre mix up and then a puncture to shatter his dreams.
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Russell picked up his first points for Williams not long ago at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the mid-season break, but then he went one better at the rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix – finishing on the podium after taking second following a disappointing two-lap race behind a safety car.
And with the move to Mercedes now confirmed, Hamilton insisted that the young Brit’s arrival will only be good for the team, admitting they need ‘fresh blood’.
‘I think the young talent that’s coming through is so great for the sport and is the future of the sport,’ the seven-time world champion said ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
‘New, fresh blood in our team is going to be great obviously because I’m the oldie there!’
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‘I think that definitely will energise the whole team, knowing that they have a new youngster coming through who’s super hungry, driven and will be pushing the team forwards.’
There has been some suggestion that Russell’s arrival would pose a threat to the peaceful atmosphere that has helped Mercedes dominate F1 in recent years. But Hamilton has been quick to allay those concerns.
There was a feisty atmosphere at Mercedes when Hamilton battled it out with Nico Rosberg for the title, which the German won in 2016.
Some believe that Russell could threaten Hamilton’s dominance, and while the 23-year-old pointed out his massive respect for his new Mercedes team-mate, he did make it clear that he wouldn’t be playing second fiddle next season.
“I am definitely going there on level terms,” Russell said in his Monza press conference today.
“That was made very clear to me. Mercedes is always respectful in giving both their drivers the best opportunity.
“I believe in myself and I have high aspirations. But equally I am under no illusions how tough it will be.
“We all know how strong Lewis is. He is the greatest driver of all-time, he is a seven-time world champion for a reason, so I am in a fortunate position to be able to learn from the best.”
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