BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — Mercedes Formula One team has confirmed that George Russell will join them from Williams to partner Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season.
The 23-year-old Briton has signed a multi-year deal and replaces Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, who confirmed on Monday that he would join Alfa Romeo next year to take the place of the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.
“I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step,” said Russell of his move to Mercedes. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands.”
Russell has been a member of Mercedes’ young driver program since 2017, when he won the GP3 championship. The Briton then won the F2 title at his first attempt in 2018, before signing for Williams to make his F1 debut the following year.
Though Russell’s F1 career to date has been spent largely in uncompetitive machinery, the Briton has frequently outshone his teammates – his only realistic benchmark – and produced an eye-catching display deputizing for an ill Hamilton at Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, in a race he might have won but for a late puncture.
Despite having to return to Williams after that race, Russell has continued to transcend the abilities of his machinery this year, notably being classified second at last month’s Belgian Grand Prix after results for the washed-out race were given based on drivers’ qualifying positions.
Russell’s impressive series of drives appear to have convinced Mercedes to place him alongside Hamilton next year, especially with the Silver Arrows needing a successor to the 36-year-old who is likely nearing the end of his F1 career.
Also in F1 news on Tuesday, AlphaTauri announced that they would continue to race next year with their 2021 lineup of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.