George Russell will join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for 2022 and former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has warned the 7-time champion that his young compatriot will be ready for the challenge of taking him on as a teammate.
2022 sees a pretty similar driver line-up to that of 2021 but one of the most significant changes to it will see Russell sitting in a Silver Arrows rather than a Williams, with him replacing the Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s teammate.
Hamilton, of course, was vocal throughout his time as Bottas’ partner in saying that the Finn was the best teammate he had ever had in the sport, but things move on and many are now interested to see how Russell is going to fare in a team that has won the last 8 Constructors’ titles in a row, and also largely dominated the Drivers’ crown as well thanks to Lewis’ achievements.
Certainly, many would be overawed but George strikes you as the kind of driver and person that takes most things in his stride, and former Red Bull ace Mark Webber would appear to subscribe to that theory as well, in suggesting that the former Formula 2 champion will be ready for the battle ahead:
“Going up against Lewis will be extremely challenging. But George has almost 50 races under his belt now, so he’s ready for it,” he told Formel Austria.
“George will know that there will be a huge shift in intensity that comes with the expectation of qualifying for the front row every week and finishing every race in the top positions.”
Russell is touted by many as the successor to Hamilton in terms of leading the Mercedes team forwards but, of course, he’ll have plans on challenging from the very get-go, with Lewis expected to drive for the Mercs until at least the end of 2023, despite ongoing speculation around his future.
With that said, a fascinating dynamic is set to play out and Mercedes will be keen to see the harmony displayed between Lewis and Valtteri since 2017 maintained, rather than the markedly more heated relationship Hamilton and 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg endured during their time together.
Russell will be confident he can compete, meanwhile, having shown back in 2020 that he is very capable in a fast car, with him cruelly denied victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix as back luck with punctures stopped him from winning at the wheel of Hamilton’s car in a one-off, covid induced race.