It was a humble George Russell who reacted to the news of becoming a Mercedes driver as of 2022, on his Instagram account he thanked Williams for the break given to him and also wrote about becoming Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.
The 23-year-old Englishman, among others, must have known for some time now that he would be joining but kept quiet about it until Valtteri Bottas was taken care of by Alfa Romeo. That announcement came yesterday, followed by George’s news today.
This is what he wrote to his 2.2-million followers: “It’s official. Next year, I’ll be a Mercedes F1 driver. This is a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions.
“I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my teammates and friends at Williams. It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1.
“Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs. We’ve battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second.
“No matter how tough it’s been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day. I’ve loved every moment in what I’d describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I’ll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way.
“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; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.
“Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles. My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud.
“Of course, one of those new teammates 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.
“For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team. Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022.
“A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you,” concluded Russell’s Instagram message.
Russell will thus become only the fifth driver employed by Mercedes since their return to Formula 1 in 2010. Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg drove for the team when it was launched, Hamilton replacing Schumi in the team since 2013.
Bottas replaced Rosberg when the German retired at the end of 2016 and, now, Russell replaces the Finn.
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