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Is George Russell ready for a move to Mercedes and teaming up with Hamilton in 2021?

2020-05-27 05:01

Charlen Raymond

george russell,williams,f1,formula 1

Williams driver, George Russell. Image: TeamTalk

The 2020 Formula 1 season has not begun yet, but already the 'silly season' has made its presence felt.

Under normal circumstances, teams and drivers will finalise contracts during the summer break (around August). Still, this year saw agreements being put in place when the realisation of the current season seems to be hanging on a thread.

Sebastian Vettel will depart Ferrari at the end of the season, Carlos Sainz Jr. will swap McLaren-orange for Ferrari-red next year, and Daniel Ricciardo moves from Renault to McLaren. These are big moves that ensure that, for the most part, the strongest teams will be in good stead come 2021.

However, the Mercedes team has not yet announced their driver line-up for next year. Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are out of a contract. And while it is expected that Hamilton will resign with Merc, Bottas is a bit of an uncertainty. And this could open the door for one of F1's hot prospects: George Russell.

Do you think Mercedes should sign George Russell for 2021, and why? Email us.

George Russell

George Russell. Image: Mark Thompson / Getty Images / AFP

Russell and F1

At the start of 2019, Russell lined up for the struggling Williams team to partner the returning Robert Kubica. And let it be known that 2019 was a dog of a year for the British driver, as he finished the year with 0 points to his name.

Ironic, given his string of winning seasons in the feeder series' to F1. At least, as a silver lining, he has made it to F1, even if it's with a team that's not in a position to challenge the top teams. In fact, Williams couldn't hold a candle to any team in 2019.

Russell is a graduate of Mercedes' driver development program and has been brought into the sport with the help of the works team's principal, Toto Wolff. And while Wolff is high on Russell, driving Merc's 2019 race during an in-season test was as high Russell could climb the F1 ladder - at least at the time. 

READ: Claire Williams won't stand in George Russell's way if Mercedes offers him a racing seat

That drive only motivated him to want to drive for a top team, as he soon realised just how poor the Williams car was in relation to the best car on the grid. And no, Russell signed his life away not to share any details with Williams.

Almost a year on from that test and Russell finds himself in a position where he can join Mercedes come the new year. The question is whether Wolff and co. will give him the opportunity, or not.

Williams George Russell

George Russell. Image: Twitter / Williams

Vying for the seat

Unfortunately for Russell, there are a couple of names linked to the Mercedes seat alongside Hamilton. Vettel is one driver who Daimler, Mercedes' parent company, is eager to sign, while Wolff wants to retain Bottas for next year. In a bid to maintain the balance in the team as they continue their run of dominance.

That leaves Russell in a pickle because he is competing against two drivers who bring something unique to the table. With Vettel and Hamilton, Mercedes can be the most prolific team in the sport's history - even more than McLaren with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Bottas is the ideal support driver, ready to back Hamilton up when the need arises. Plus he can win the odd race without hindering his team mate's championship pursuit.

READ: 'A Vettel-Hamilton partnership will be very dominant' - Readers believe Merc should sign Seb

Russell, however, will want to prove himself. This could come at a cost, especially as he'd want to show that it was the right decision to sign him. If Mercedes does sign Russell, it is unlikely that Hamilton will have sleepless nights because of his younger team mate.

But for Russell, the pressure of driving for the top team might be too much, or he could swim and prove that he is the right man for the job.


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