Lewis Hamilton insists George Russell will ‘energise’ Mercedes next season as he breaks silence on his new team-mate – who revealed the seven-time F1 world champion ‘congratulated’ him on 2022 move via text message
- Lewis Hamilton will be paired with George Russell at Mercedes for 2022 season
- They will form F1’s first all-British driving pair since Hamilton and Jenson Button
- George Russell revealed he and Hamilton have already been talking via text
- The 23-year-old has claimed racing alongside his childhood idol was ‘crazy’
Lewis Hamilton has claimed that George Russell will help ‘energise’ Mercedes next season after speaking publicly for the first time since his new team-mate was confirmed.
Russell will join Mercedes for the 2022 campaign, replacing Valtteri Bottas who has been Hamilton’s team-mate since 2017 after replacing Nico Rosberg.
Despite racing near the back of the field in a Williams since his 2019 debut, the 23-year-old has impressed many within the paddock this term and the prospect of the talented British youngster lining up alongside his compatriot and seven-time world champion remains an exciting one.
Lewis Hamilton (left) and George Russell (right) will be Mercedes team-mates in 2022
Russell, pictured ahead of Hamilton, has been driving for Williams since his 2019 debut
Speaking ahead of the Italian Grand Prix this weekend, Hamilton, 36, insisted that Russell’s arrival at the team would be a boost, jokingly referring to the world champion outfit needing fresh blood to counter his veteran status.
‘I think the young talent that’s coming through is so great for the sport and is the future of the sport,’ he said.
‘New, fresh blood in our team is going to be great obviously because I’m the oldie there!’
‘I think that definitely will energise the whole team, knowing that they have a new youngster coming through who’s super hungry, driven and will be pushing the team forwards.’
The pair exchange a fist bump on the podium of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa last month
Russell impressed Mercedes when he stood in for Hamilton at last season’s Sakhir Grand Prix
Russell also addressed the media in a separate briefing following the official announcement of his move to Mercedes and revealed he and his future team-mate have already been exchanging text messages of good will.
‘We spoke earlier this week over text, he said “congratulations, and looking forward to being team-mates with me” and seeing how I get on,’ Russell said.
‘I said likewise, it’s a privilege for me to be lining up alongside him.
‘Obviously all these photos going around on social media of when I was a young boy looking up to Lewis, it’s pretty crazy to see how the times have gone and lining up alongside him next year.’
Russell and Hamilton will be the first all-British driver pairing in F1 since 2012 when the current world champion teamed up with Jenson Button in their third year together at McLaren.
Hamilton shared a throwback picture on Twitter of the two together during the seven-time world champion’s days at McLaren
Although Hamilton has publicly welcomed Russell to the team, he was disappointed with the team’s decision to drop Bottas who has consistently played a No 2 role to Hamilton – a comfort he may not necessarily enjoy alongside Russell.
Russell stood in for Hamilton, who was ill with Covid, at Mercedes for last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix and only poor luck denied him a stunning victory in Bahrain.
Hamilton’s focus this weekend will be retaking the lead in the drivers’ championship away from chief rival Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver took a stunning victory at his home race in Holland last weekend ahead of Hamilton and he now leads the Brit by a mere three points heading into Monza.