Lewis Hamilton has issued a message of support for George Russell after the 23-year-old’s impending move to Mercedes was finally confirmed on Tuesday morning. Russell has signed a long-term deal to replace the departing Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows from the start of next year.
The Finn has agreed to join Alfa Romeo on a multi-year contract in place of Kimi Raikkonen, who will retire at the end of the campaign.
Russell is currently a Mercedes junior driver and has effectively spent the last three years on loan at Williams, where he will stay for the rest of the current season.
The man from Norfolk has established himself as one of F1’s most talented young drivers since making his debut in the sport back in 2019.
He stunned everyone with arguably the best qualifying performance of all time to put his Williams car on the front row at Spa last month.
Russell claimed his maiden podium finish on the same weekend, with the results declared after just one lap under the safety car due to very wet conditions.
It seems as though Hamilton is a keen admirer of the Williams man, with the seven-time world champion sending a congratulatory message via Twitter after Mercedes announced their driver pairing for next year on Tuesday.
“I want to take a moment to welcome George Russell to the team,” wrote Hamilton.
“I remember meeting him when he was young, dreaming of one day becoming a Formula One driver.
“I’d only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him.
“He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly. Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot on our team.
“I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise this team higher. See you next year.”
It remains to be seen how Russell’s impending move to Mercedes will affect the team’s bid to win yet another championship double next season.
The partnership between Hamilton and Bottas has worked exceptionally well for the Silver Arrows over the last five years, but the former often clashed with Nico Rosberg during the German driver’s spell at the team.
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When quizzed on whether he would like Russell to join Mercedes at last week’s Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton suggested that he would be welcomed with open arms as a result of his frightening ability behind the wheel.
“I honestly think it will be good, I think George is an incredibly talented driver,” said the 36-year-old.
“Probably the only highlight from last week [Spa] was his qualifying lap, it was amazing. He’s humble, I think he’s got a great approach.
“Naturally, being British I would imagine probably helps in terms of communication. He’s the future, he’s one of the members of the future of the sport.
“He’s already showing incredible driving so far and I’m sure he will continue to grow, so where better to do it than in a great team like this?”