‘I don’t think any driver would be naive to think they could go up against a seven-time champion and have it easy’: George Russell aware of challenge ahead of him as Mercedes get set to confirm deal
- Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed as a driver for Alfa Romeo Racing from 2022
- The Finn will depart Mercedes as they prepare to sign up George Russell next
- Lewis Hamilton will be part of an all-British team pairing from the 2022 season
George Russell says it will be a dream come true to become team-mates with Lewis Hamilton but he is also fully aware of the challenges that it will entail.
Russell is set to be confirmed as a Mercedes driver for the 2022 season after it was announced that Valterri Bottas will be departing to join Alfa Romeo.
The Brit has remained remained coy all year when asked about the situation but was more forthcoming in an interview with with Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button.
Goerge Russell has given some thoughts on becoming team-mates with Lewis Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes at the end of the season to sign for Alfa Romeo Racing
‘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, who has effectively been on loan at Williams from Mercedes for the last three seasons.
‘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.’
The driver line-up change reveals that Toto Wolff is preparing for life after Hamilton, who turns 37 in January and was urging his boss to stick with the usually compliant Bottas.
Russell, 23, is set to form an all-British partnership at Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton
In a statement to Mercedes, Wolff said: ‘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 team-mates 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.’
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