He has three races in the top five, a podium and is second in the championship so far, George Russell is synonymous with guarantee in the Mercedes team. With the arrival of the 24-year-old British driver, the German team is preparing for the moment when Lewis Hamilton, his seven-time champion, decides to end his career.
“Russell is the future,” he declared. hamiltonone of the best drivers in F1 history and whom they have decided to pair with the young driver two years before the veteran’s current contract expires, to serve as a mentor.
“He is one of the members of the future of the sport. I think he has already shown incredible driving so far and I am sure he will continue to grow,” said Hamilton.
Mercedes also believes in Russell’s future, which is why in 2017 he was announced as part of its young driver program, in 2018 he was the team’s reserve driver and in 2022 he began the first of a two-year contract to race in one of their seats.
Before that, Russell’s dad, Steve, financed his career. The young driver grew up with the example of his older brother, Benjy, who had his own successful career in motorsports. However, it was not until the age of 12 that racing became everything to him, when he was placed European champion in KF3 CIK-FIA, also winning it in 2013.
The 24-year-old is seen as a future world champion, projections he has won with facts: he won the GP3 title at his first attempt and did the same in F2. And while Williams, his team from 2019 to 2021, hasn’t been the most competitive, he did his best to showcase his prowess by earning a podium finish in 2021 and finishing eighth in the constructors’ championship along with teammate Williams. he Nicholas Latifi.
One of its great strengths is ranking. His head-to-head at this stage against all his team-mates was an impressive 50-1 until before this season, his only loss was against Bottas when he was at Mercedes. This year, he has only started ahead of Hamilton once.
Among Russell’s main qualities is not only his speed on the court, but also his quick learning, his ability to notice what is happening around him and take several steps ahead in his planning, as well as assume his role in the team’s strategy. .
“He has an extraordinary ability to analyze, understand and adapt to the work environment. He is curious by nature, and if you add all that to the intelligence of him, he has reached a certain level of perfection in many areas,” said Gwen Lagrue, Mercedes driver development adviser.
Until the third race of the season, Russell is second, three positions ahead of Hamilton. Before he joined the German team, the specialists foresaw strong competition within Mercedes for being the main driver, and although this exists, Russell has declared that he has a good relationship with his partner.
“They’ll twist my words a little bit to make a headline, like I’m trying to take the crown from Lewis or whatever. But I don’t feel that way. I’m in Formula 1 because I want to be world champion, that’s obvious. And if I’m going to be World Champion, I have to beat everyone, including Lewis.”
toto wolffdirector of Mercedesdescribes Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in GQ as “lions getting to know each other”, two completely opposite generations accepting each other’s role, master and successor.
Perhaps, running alongside one of the best drivers in history, such as Hamilton, can also bring him learning in commercial matters. Currently, the seven-time champion is, by a wide margin, the most followed driver in F1 with more than 40 million followers on social networks and according to Spotrac and Forbes he has a salary of 40 million dollars and generates 12 million more from sponsorships such as Bose, Mercedes-Benz, Monster Energy, Police, Puma, Sony, Tommy Hilfiger, Vodafone-USD.
In terms of social media following, Russell is the ninth most popular driver on the grid, with 5.2 million fans. This year, joviality, charisma, speed, talent and rising career, led the young driver to partner as a Puma brand ambassador for its lifestyle and performance program, as well as introduce him to its lifestyle and culture sector. automotive. Puma already has long-term partnerships in F1 with Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and this year added Alfa Romeo as its official kit suppliers.
Other British sponsors include Bell Helmets, MDM Designs, Alpinestars, the British Racing Drivers’ Club and Mercedes itself, while his commercial agent is Harry Soden, director of Infinity Sports Manager, a British company that manages kart and racing drivers. motorsport, the same one that introduced him to Toto Wolff. The driver’s reported salary is $5 million according to Spotrac, (12 drivers earn more than him this season).