It looks like George Russell‘s PowerPoint presentation skills have finally paid off. The Williams driver has just signed a long-term deal with Mercedes-AMG, and will partner seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 Formula 1 season. It was already pretty obvious when Valtteri Bottas recently announced his move to Alfa Romeo next season on a multiyear contract.
But for the 23-year-old Briton, it truly feels like a dream come true after his brilliant but sadly ruined one-off appearance (substituting for a COVID-stricken Hamilton) for Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. This is where he could have had his first-ever victory, if not for some unfortunate turn of events.
Russell has proven to be quite the capable driver since his debut with Williams back in 2019. He has managed to extract the most that he can out of one of the slowest cars on the grid. He also regularly beats his teammates in qualifying, earning him the nickname “Mr. Saturday.” Russell accomplished his maiden podium finish (under extremely unusual circumstances) at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.
“It’s official,” he said on Instagram. “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 honor working alongside every member of the team, and an honor to represent the Williams name in F1.”
The 2022 F1 season is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated in a long while. There are new regulations in place, effectively leveling the playing field. With a talented, young-blooded driver being paired with a reigning world champion on one of the best teams, only time will tell what can happen.