George Russell deserves to switch to Mercedes for F1 2022
There seems to be a slow change of guard at the moment in Formula 1, with drivers like Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc making things very difficult for established stars like Lewis Hamilton. And with Kimi Raikkonen having recently announced her retirement from the sport at the end of 2021, young people are coming to the fore. For Mercedes, this youthful move almost created a headache, as it now looks like sensation Williams and young Mercedes driver George Russell will finally make their way to the Mercedes squad for 2022.
Russell has impressed immensely since making his F1 debut in 2019. This year in particular has seen him shine, with a sensational first-place start and a first podium finish in the washed-out Belgian Grand Prix. Plus there’s also the drive he put on in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix for Mercedes, replacing Hamilton who had Covid-19 and almost won the race. Mercedes felt a sense of loyalty to Valtteri Bottas, but now is the time for the Silver Arrows to promote their young star to one of the most coveted seats on the Formula 1 grid.
He did his time at Williams
Russell has been with the Williams team since making his debut in the sport in 2019. Meanwhile, Williams has been firmly at the bottom of the hierarchy, but the new owners of Dorilton Capital and the new management led by Jost Capito seem to have helped reverse their fortunes. The team are now in eighth place in the constructors’ championship, a marked change from the past two seasons. Russell seems to have given the team a whole new life and almost inspired the team to raise their level, the guys and girls at Williams knowing they have a driver who can maximize the car they give him.
From the outside it looks like a huge family atmosphere on this team now, and Russell has clearly fitted into Williams wonderfully since 2019. On top of that, the three-year sting he had at Williams is more that sufficient. an apprenticeship to see him access one of the biggest seats in sport. Don’t forget that drivers like Charles Leclerc have moved on to a top-level team after only a year in midfield. Russell is therefore clearly more than ready.
The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
Russell’s performance at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix on the Bahrain Short Circuit alone deserves a mention. Hamilton had contracted Covid-19 before the race and Mercedes was able to place Russell in the car. He put in a superb performance, qualifying within a tenth of Bottas to take second on the grid, then taking the lead around the first corner and without looking back. That was, of course, until a botched pitstop and then a puncture relegated him to 9th place, as Sergio Perez claimed his first Grand Prix victory.
Before his puncture, Russell had set up an exceptional chargeback on the ground after Mercedes shuffled their tire sets during a safety car pit stop. His pass over Bottas was absolutely sensational, and he had made his way to second place and was closing in on Perez before the puncture. Most importantly, he put Bottas completely in the shadows, and the Mercedes veteran was beaten by a man who had never driven the 2020 Mercedes and barely got into the car he was in. parachuted at the last minute. It was one of the most impressive records in recent memory, and possibly the best record of 2020.
Bottas underperformed in 2021
While Valtteri Bottas’ absolute speed is not in dispute, nor his contributions to Mercedes since 2017, it has not been an easy race for him in 2021. Bottas has only landed one pole position all year round. and has yet to win a race. This contrasts sharply with the victory in Baku for second Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. While Mercedes still lead the constructors’ championship, Perez is fighting for Red Bull much harder than Pierre Gasly or Alex Albon did before. Additionally, Perez has yet to unlock more speed from his RB16B. Mercedes needs someone who, when fully connected, can be as consistent as we know Perez can be. Faced with the increased threat from Red Bull, and possibly more threats in 2022, Bottas might not be enough.
The decision is apparently made
We can speculate as much as we want, but we all know the decision for 2022 has been made. Russell himself said it before the Dutch Grand Prix, and Toto Wolff confirmed to Spa that he made the decision as well. Bottas also knows where he will be. It seems likely that Bottas will be Alfa Romeo, with Russell’s Williams seat that could go to Alex Albon. We should know in a few weeks, but Russell has done more than enough to earn this promotion to the Mercedes Grand Prix squad. And Lewis Hamilton should be watching over his shoulders. Because Russell is quick, hungry, and eager to show the world what he can do.
Sources: Formula 1, Planet F1, Grand Prix 24/7, Autocar
On average, Red Bull seems to have the fastest car.
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