Lewis Hamilton sent fighting talk message by George Russell after Mercedes deal

  • Kim Loe
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One of the worst-kept secrets in Formula One is finally out; George Russell has been confirmed as Lewis Hamilton's teammate at Mercedes next season.

This comes after Toto Wolff made the official announcement after Valtteri Bottas was given the vacant seat at Alfa Romeo for next season, replacing the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.

In his latest press conference, Russell made it very clear that he wasn’t arriving to make up the numbers and promised to challenge seven-time F1 champion Hamilton rather than slot in as his wingman.

Russell said: "I'm definitely going in on level terms and that was made very clear to me.

"Mercedes have always been respectful in that regard, giving both the drivers the best opportunity. And obviously and naturally I believe in myself, and I have high aspirations. But equally, I know how tough it's going to be.”

At 23, Russell is one of the most exciting prospects in the sport.

Despite driving for Williams, who have not had a competitive car since their third place in the 2015 Constructors' Championship and not won it this decade, Russell has stood out as one of the best performers in qualification. This has earned him the nickname Mr. Saturday and his second-place finish at the rain hit Belgium GP has further proved his ability to over-perform in an off-pace car.

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For Mercedes, it seems like a notable change of direction.

Bottas was gaining a solid reputation as being the perfect wingman for Hamilton. The rarely outspoken Fin was seemingly happy to play the number two role and support his teammate when and where possible.

Bottas arrived at Mercedes as the antidote to an often volatile relationship between Hamilton and his former teammate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton doesn’t have a good track record of getting on with competitive partners. He was often critical of Jenson Button during their time together at McLaren, and there is certainly no love lost between him and his first F1 teammate Fernando Alonso.

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The introduction of Russell has already got British racing fans buzzing. Having two British drivers in the fastest car on the grid will undoubtedly get the Union Jacks waving.

With Hamilton and Max Verstappen beginning to monopolise the top of the standings, it will be exciting to see how Russell can ruffle their feathers.

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