George Russell, the Formula 1 driver who will be partnering Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2019, has exclusively revealed to Autosport what he is looking forward to most about joining the Silver Arrows.
George Russell is an English racing driver who has just signed a contract with Mercedes. He will be partnering Lewis Hamilton and his chances of winning the title in 2022 are high. Read more in detail here: george russell mercedes contract.
MONZA (Italy) – The week before the Belgian Grand Prix, George Russell was out for dinner when Toto Wolff’s name appeared on his phone. After staying late at the gym in preparation for the next race, the Williams driver decided he couldn’t be bothered to cook and met a buddy at a nearby restaurant.
As he took up the phone, the music in the background was loud — “Toto must have assumed I was out partying or something” — but by the time he put it down, he knew he’d be teaming up with Lewis Hamilton as a Mercedes driver in 2022.
It’s the phone call that every rookie Formula One driver hopes to receive: confirmation that you’ll be racing for the greatest team in the sport, with the opportunity to show yourself alongside the most successful driver in history.
Russell has been a member of Mercedes’ youth program since 2016, and a move up to world champions was anticipated at some time. He stepped in for Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix last year after the seven-time champion tested positive for COVID-19, and he would have won the race if it hadn’t been for a pit stop tyre mix-up.
Russell, on the other hand, was not making any assumptions in the weeks leading up to the phone conversation.
Russell told ESPN in an interview in the Monza paddock ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, “It had been going for a while and we weren’t naïve to the idea it was a genuine possibility, particularly after the race in Sakhir last year.” “But, equally, we were simply controlling expectations until the pen was on the paper and I had signed on the dotted line, until it was revealed.”
Russell will be pitting against Hamilton next year, not just against the most successful driver in Formula One history, but also against one of his childhood idols. Russell was only beginning out in go-karts when Hamilton initially began in F1 with McLaren in 2007, and they are 13 years apart in age.
Following the announcement of Russell’s signing on Tuesday, Hamilton greeted his new teammate with an Instagram photo of himself and an 11-year-old Russell at McLaren’s factory.
Russell recalls the day vividly.
“When you’re an 11-year-old child who wants to be a racing driver and you see a Formula One driver, you think of them as a superhero,” he added. “Right now, I’m remembering that day.” It simply stays in your mind, and it will in mine for the rest of my life.
“Wow, it’s Lewis Hamilton, a Formula One driver,” you think as you gaze up. So it’s kind of weird that I’ll be competing against him next year.
“However, when you get older and enter the paddock, you realize that everyone is a regular person, even if they are very brilliant in their field. But I certainly believed he was a celebrity at the time.”
“I’m very thrilled about going up against Lewis, but I’m also well aware of how tough it will be,” he said. Lewis is, in my view, the best driver of all time, and the chance to race against him is enormous.
“To be honest, I’m going in with an open mind and trying to learn from him, because he’s a seven-time world champion for a reason, and it’s not going to be easy.”
Russell holds Hamilton in such high esteem because he gets a behind-the-scenes look at what drives him to be so successful. Russell sat in on a Mercedes engineering meeting before joining Williams in 2019 to understand what goes into winning races and titles.
Russell said, “I learnt a tremendous lot.” “Seeing how he interacts with his engineers and how hard he works during my time with him at Mercedes before to joining Williams.”
“I believe a lot of people believe Lewis just shows up on a Friday morning, gets in the vehicle, and does something extraordinary. But he works so hard, he is one of the first and last people off the track every day, and he pays attention to the tiniest of things in order to locate that final millisecond.
“When I first saw it, it really opened my eyes, and I said to myself, “Blimey, guy is arguably the most brilliant driver ever, and he’s still striving for more.” That is why I am aware of the difficulties I will encounter.”
Next year, Mercedes will replace Valtteri Bottas with George Russell. Pool/Getty Images/Laurent Charniaux
The question of whether Russell joining Mercedes would cause friction between the two teammates has gotten a lot of attention. Following the splits caused by Nico Rosberg fighting Hamilton in 2016, the man Russell succeeds, Valtteri Bottas, ushered in a five-year era of team unity — although Bottas has never challenged Hamilton as aggressively as Russell promised.
Russell claims that his connection with his prospective teammate is fine at this point, and that he is not under any pressure to defeat Hamilton right immediately.
“To be honest, I believe our connection is excellent,” Russell remarked. “We haven’t had any actual business transactions in the last several years, but we’ve always said hi when we see each other on the street.”
“But I’m sure our connection will evolve over the years, and to be honest, all I want to do right now is learn from him and help me improve since I, too, view this as a lengthy trip.”
“I want to be competing for wins and championships for the next five, 10, or fifteen years, and it’s critical that I continue to improve.”
Russell has three years of experience studying his craft at Williams on his side. He has been an outstanding member of the team, arriving in 2019 when it was battling to get off the back row of the grid and leading it to a second-place result at the Belgian Grand Prix last month (by virtue of qualifying second for a race that was so wet it only consisted of three laps behind the safety car).
In contrast, Alex Albon, a karting colleague and close friend, was moved to a seat at Red Bull with Max Verstappen in just his second year in Formula One and struggled. Albon was dismissed by Red Bull for 2021 after just a single year in a top vehicle, but will receive a second shot in F1 by taking over Russell’s car at Williams next year.
Russell stated, “I think I’ve been very pleased with how Mercedes has provided me with this chance to go out there and learn.” “Obviously, Red Bull’s approach to things is a little risky and harsh at times, which is why I’m so thankful to have had this chance to learn, grow, and evolve.”
“Every driver dreams of breaking into Formula One and winning races from the start, but when you’re competing against the greatest in the world, it doesn’t always work out that way.”
“I’m in such a stronger mental state right now that even if I jump in and fall behind, I’m certain that I’ll be able to overcome it. I’m certain that I’ll make it. I’m not sure when I’ll get there, but I believe I’m grown and old enough to cope with it now, while I probably wouldn’t have been one or two years ago.”
Russell is aiming to reward Mercedes with on-track success, and he claims that he enters the team feeling supported from the top.
He said, “Toto has always been there [for me throughout my career].” “He’s always available to speak to, and he’s always given me very excellent advice. He’s pushed me and been tough on me at times, but he’s always slapped me on the back when the outcome has been positive.”
“They’ve been so wonderful to me as a team, which is why I’m so grateful for the chance and why I’m willing to go the additional mile to thank them for their trust in me over the last few years.”
So, does he think he can achieve his ultimate aim of winning the world championship in his first year with Mercedes?
“To be honest, I have no clue.” I’ll be working with a brand-new team of engineers, a brand-new set of rules, a brand-new vehicle, and a brand-new colleague. There will be a lot of new things for me to adjust to and get accustomed to.
“But we can’t declare that this is the objective right now. Obviously, everyone’s goal is to win, and it will always be the goal, but there must also be a realistic goal. That is, without a doubt, the objective for the next three to five years.”
George Russell is the new Mercedes driver this year. He took to social media to announce his departure from Williams and his partnership with Lewis Hamilton. The British driver has a chance of winning the title in 2022, according to Russell. Reference: nicholas latifi.
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