Who is George Russell - the man set to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
- Credit: PA
George Russell is set to become Lewis Hamilton’s partner at Mercedes for the 2022 season.
The 23-year-old is set to replace Valteri Bottas, who has joined Alfa Romeo to replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.
Russell is expected to be confirmed as the Silver Arrows’ second driver later this week.
Here’s everything you need to know about him...
Where does Russell come from?
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Russell was born in King’s Lynn and grew up in Cambridgeshire. He attended Wisbech Grammar School.
Was he always destined to be an F1 driver?
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Dr Kevin Mann, assistant head of Co-Curricular at Wisbech Grammar School remembered speaking to him about his motor racing ambitions.
“Right from the beginning it was very clear that George was determined that he would have a career in motor racing,” he said. “His love of speed was evident at an early age.
“It has been amazing to watch his progression from kart racing around Europe whilst at school to now his impressive success with F1. We are happy that the school was able to play a part in his journey.”
How did he start his career in motorsport?
Russell first got into a kart at the age of eight and won his way steadily towards motorsport's pinnacle from there.
Between the ages of eight and 12, it was Team Russell on the kart track, with his father Steve the mechanic as dad and lad team lived out of the back of a motorhome.
Many of Russell's early wins were at the Ellough Park Race Circuit, a kart racing track near Beccles.
Managing director Richard Lock said: “His older brother Benjy Russell won the British Championships and the European Championships. George has come along and taken that a step further.
“He's a talented lad, a very nice lad, he's very down to earth. I'm sure with the right car under him he could go all the way.”
A family affair?
Russell spent his first F1 pay packet on a new Mercedes for his father.
“I sorted my dad out a new car but I am trying to stay grounded,” he told The Times.
“There has been so much sacrifice from everybody. It's not that 'I' have made it.
“It's 'we' as a family. Without the support of my parents or brother or sister. They had different dreams and aspirations in life, but they understood that my parents gave more support to me and more focus to help me achieve my dreams.
“My siblings could have been very affected by this or made a problem out of it but they didn't because they believed in me.”
What’s he done in F1 so far?
Russell got his first F1 drive with Williams in the 2019 season but his car lacked pace and he was the only driver not to score a point that season.
2020 proved more competitive with Williams but his big break would come at the Sakhir Grand Prix when deputising for Hamilton at Mercedes following a positive coronavirus test.
After qualifying behind Valtteri Bottas, Russell took control of the race but with 20 laps remaining the mechanics fitted Bottas’ front tyres to Russell’s car causing him to have to re-pit on the next lap to correct the error. Russell went on to finish in ninth place, earning his first championship points, and more importantly he had shown he could cope with the pressure of driving for Mercedes.
Russell was retained by Williams for the 2021 season and secured his first podium at the Belgian Grand Prix behind Max Verstappen – another rivalry he will be hoping to rekindle next season.
What does he think of being Hamilton’s team-mate/rival?
Russell said: “I don't think any driver would be naive to think they could go up against a seven-time world champion and have it easy.
"Because a guy like Lewis is who he is because of his speed and determination.
"But that's every driver's dream - and I've said that for the last three years that it would be my dream to be team-mates with Lewis, because I want to learn from the best and I want to go up against the best.”
What does Hamilton think of Russell becoming his partner at Mercedes?
Hamilton said: “I honestly think it will be good, I think George is an incredibly talented driver. He’s humble, I think he’s got a great approach. Naturally, being British I would imagine probably helps in terms of communication.
“He’s the future, he’s one of the members of the future of the sport. He’s already showing incredible driving so far and I’m sure he will continue to grow, so where better to do it than in a great team like this…or what team he goes to.”