In one of the worst kept secrets in Formula One, George Russell has finally been announced as Lewis Hamilton’s (2021 Drivers’ Championship winner – Hamilton 5/4, Max Verstappen 8/13) Mercedes team-mate for 2022.

The 23-year-old Briton had been linked with a move to Silver Arrows for some time, owing to his very impressive performances with Williams.

With Valtteri Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo confirmed on Monday, a clear path emerged for Russell and now he will be part of an all-British line-up for 2022.

Russell has been part of the Mercedes young driver programme since 2017 and was effectively on loan at Williams from the German team.

Despite driving an uncompetitive car usually found near the back of the grid, the former Formula 2 champion has displayed great pace, particularly in qualifying.

He has never been out-qualified by either of his Williams team-mates in Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi and reached Q3 in the Grand Prixs in Austria and Britain.

His high point with Williams came at the recently aborted Belgian Grand Prix, where he qualified in second in wet conditions and secured a maiden podium with the race only running two laps.

Russell, who raced for Mercedes (2021 Constructors’ Championship winner – Mercedes 8/11, Red Bull 11/10) in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix after Hamilton contracted Covid-19, says he cannot wait for the challenge and hopes to repay the faith shown in him.

“It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands,” he said.

“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 team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time.”

The F1 season continues this weekend as the paddock heads to the legendary Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.

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