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Formula One driver George Russell will be a team-mate of Lewis Hamilton after signing a long-term contract with Mercedes

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Formula One driver George Russell has signed a long-term contract with Mercedes for the 2022 season.

Russell - who hails from Tydd St Giles and is a former Wisbech Grammar School pupil - has ended his three season association with Williams Racing.

The 23-year-old will now drive for the reigning World Constructors’ champions where he will partner seven-time champion and British compatriot Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell. Photo: www.georgerussell63.com (50977253)
George Russell. Photo: www.georgerussell63.com (50977253)

Russell - who secured a podium finish at the recent Belgian Grand Prix - admitted he had mixed emotions about making the switch.

He said: "It's a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions.

"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 team-mates 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.

“Looking ahead to next season, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.

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

George Russell. Photo: www.georgerussell63.com (50977235)
George Russell. Photo: www.georgerussell63.com (50977235)

“My target must be to reward the trust that Toto Wolff, 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 team-mates proud.

“Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time.

"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.

“For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team. Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022.

“A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you."

Russell - who finished 17th in the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday after a late issue forced his retirement - will be competing in the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

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