George Russell braced for steep Mercedes F1 learning curve

New Mercedes Formula 1 signing George Russell says he has "no illusion" about the scale of the challenge he faces alongside Lewis Hamilton next year.

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Russell has been given the nod to step up to Mercedes for 2022 after three seasons with the Williams outfit. He will replace Valtteri Bottas, who has driven for the German car manufacturer since 2017.

With Bottas having played his part in a clean sweep of constructors' championships for Mercedes since then, Russell needs no reminding about the contribution that will be expected from him.

Speaking about his Mercedes future, he said: "I'm under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it's going to be a steep learning curve.

"Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles.

"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 teammates proud."

Russell's move to Mercedes also means he will be up against Hamilton, who is widely regarded as one of the best F1 drivers in history.

And while he will not want to play second fiddle to the seven-time champion, Russell said that he sensed a good opportunity to learn a lot.

"One of those new teammates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time," added Russell.

"I've looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being."

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George Russell, Williams, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, congratulate each other in Parc Ferme after Qualifying

George Russell, Williams, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, congratulate each other in Parc Ferme after Qualifying

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Russell also said that while he was hugely excited about the opportunity to race for Mercedes next year, he felt some sadness about having to leave Williams after three enjoyable seasons.

"It's a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions," he said. "I'm excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I'll be saying goodbye to my teammates and friends at Williams.

"It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1. Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs.

"We've battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second. No matter how tough it's been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day.

"I've loved every moment in what I'd describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I'll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way."

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