George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes George Russell is a “great talent” who will “strengthen” the Mercedes team next season as he partners Lewis Hamilton for their title rivals next season in a hugely-anticipated line-up.
Russell faced nearly an entire season batting away rumours regarding his future at the seven-time world champions until eventually it was announced the 23-year-old would be replacing the axed Valtteri Bottas at the team.
The Briton not only impressed when he stepped in for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix at the end of last season but has hugely impressed in an underperforming Williams this season, picking up his maiden podium in Formula One in a washed-out Belgium Grand Prix.
Since scoring his first points for the team at Hungary, Russell has been unstoppable with 16 points now on the board, compared to his team-mate Nicholas Latifi on seven.
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And Horner believes Russell’s inclusion next season will make them a formidable force.
“He certainly strengthens the team. He’s a great talent. You saw that in a Williams,” Horner told Motorsport-Total.
“He’s got front row starts and podium places, and he’s obviously a talent for the future.
“You can see why Toto has brought him in for the next year. I think he really deserves this chance. Time will tell how that will develop.”
Russell is just one of the emerging young drivers this season who have impressed, with 21-year-old Lando Norris sending waves through the paddock at McLaren.
And with Red Bull backing a very young Max Verstappen back in 2016 at the age of 18, Horner believes it’s good for the sport to invest in the future.
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”I think it’s exciting for everyone to see because the only thing that doesn’t stand still in this or any other sport is time,” Horner explained.
“There is always someone emerging, there is always someone who struggles up.
“We saw that with Max, and George comes from the same era and from the same environment, and it will be fascinating to see him in this environment and how he copes when he comes on the big stage.
Toto Wolff has been following Russell’s career with interest since signing him as a Mercedes driver back in 2017.
“He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1,” explained Wolff.
“Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.
“I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead.”
Verstappen currently trails Hamilton by two points heading to the Turkish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time with just seven races remaining of the season.
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