Months of deliberation and kept secrets have finally been unraveled as George Russell announced his signing with Mercedes Formula 1 team for next season.
The decision was expected after Alfa Romeo made their official statement on the signing of Valtteri Bottas who will join the Italian outfit on a multi year deal.
Russell’s 2021 season has been his best yet. After a podium finish at Spa (under unprecedented circumstances) and the teams joint double points finish at Hungary, which was the first time the team had scored points since 2019.
It was all looking up for the British team. But Russell’s performance and ability was sought after in higher teams, with an already established relationship with Mercedes it all seemed like a matter of time before he was signed there for next season.
In 2020 Russell was given the opportunity to drive a Mercedes in the Sakhir GP due to Hamilton contracting COVID-19. The Briton showed fantastic pace and confidence as he qualified 2nd for the race and eventually finished 9th after a pitstop malfunction when he was leading the race.
Many were talking of this outing as proof that Russell was fast enough and deserved a seat at Mercedes. He even took the lead from Bottas into the first corner and performed an exhilirating overtake, once again on Bottas, mid-race.
Mercedes were excited to make the announcement and had huge praise for the young new comer saying in the press release:
“… George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes.
“He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1.”
George was equally excited about his new signing but not reluctant to share his sadness about exiting his role at Williams. In the press release George explained:
“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions.
“No matter how tough it’s been, nobody[at Williams] has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day.
“Looking ahead to next season, 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. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge.
“… one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time. I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.”
Finally, Russell said his time with Williams is not over yet and there are still 9 races left in the season so, moving forward he will focus on finishing his time with the team on a high.
With the announcement of Valtteri’s move to Alfa, Russell’s move to Mercedes, and the resigning of the AlphaTauri drivers. There are now only 3 seats left on the grid to fill.
Williams are yet to announce their driver lineup for 2022 and the last seat at Alfa Romeo is also under speculation.
Who do you think will take the last 3 seats on the grid?
Featured image source: motorlat.com