Inside Line: Lewis and George, a perfect match?
Finally, the truth that we have all suspected if not known for some time is official, George Russell will be Lewis Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes from 2022.
As expected, after Alfa Romeo yesterday confirmed the arrival of Valtteri Bottas to lead their campaign from next year on Tuesday, a day later, Mercedes announced Russell
The 23-year-old blue-eyed F1 boy gets his deserved call, joining the king of F1 of the past decade – Lewis Hamilton – to create one of the most formidable and anticipated driving teams in history .
In F1, where winning requires beating your teammate, this partnership is relished on all sides as it pits the future of the sport against each other, which Young Gun Russell represents by teaming up with Old Guard Commander-in-Chief who is Hamilton, with seven titles and 99 Grand Prix victories to his name.
Russell comes in with few accomplishments in F1 other than putting tremendous effort with Williams every time he gets in the car, culminating in this fabulous lap (some heavyweights in the sport claim he is one of the best in the car. all weather) at the formidable Spa-Francorchamps in atrocious conditions, to grab second place on the grid (in a Williams) and ahead of the two Mercs!
Enough said! He couldn’t take it anymore. He could no longer be ignored.
And it was not. Sacking of ‘world’s best winger’ for one of the sport’s hottest properties signals Mercedes-initiated succession program, with Hamilton, 36, ready to hand over to Russell when he decides to take over his retirement. End of 2023 maybe?
By then, Russell will be firmly grounded and ready to lead the team in what looks to be an era that should feature a lot of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, with likes from Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly. and his colleagues should also be key players if the new rules effectively level the playing field.
While Red Bull is betting on Verstappen, Ferrari is betting on Leclerc, McLaren on Norris and now Mercedes has named Russell as the chosen one. It’s an incredible cast of characters for the future.
While some relish the fall of Hamilton, I predict that the two Englishmen will be ultra-competitive and set terms of engagement while pushing relentlessly until the balance of power tips one way or the other. ‘other.
On the flip side, there’s always a very, very fine line between team-mates harmony and war, and let’s face it, this combo has some explosive ingredients that will need to be handled well by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and his team.
They only have to delve into their own history of two legends that led for them in the fifties, the elder statesman Juan Manuel Fangio and his protege Stirling Moss.
Speaking of his team leader at Sports car magazine, Moss gave insight into the thinking when he joined Mercedes to partner with Fangio, already a legend at the time: “I would have done anything for Fangio. I had a lot of respect for this man.
“For me, it was the same kind of respect I had for my dad, actually. I loved the man, in a different way from my father, but yes, I loved the man. When Mercedes said to me, “Look, we would like Fangio to win this race”, I was fine with that. I would say “OK, why not, what’s the problem with that?” »And I was proud to be able to say it within the team.
“But he was different, you see. I mean, my God, I would never have signed as number two in Hawthorn for example, or anybody else for that matter. The only man in the world with whom I would have agreed to such a thing was Fangio.
“I was never officially hired as number two, it was more by inference; he was already twice world champion. There is no other driver in my entire career that I would have considered doing this, ”insisted Moss.
True, times have changed, nevertheless, George and Lewis can learn from Fangio and Moss on how to find harmony in such circumstances.
Dark alternatives are the Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost model, the Hamilton and Fernando Alonso option or the Nico Rosberg and Lewis saga, neither of which was pretty.
This HAM-RUS legacy starts off as a blank canvas, let’s see what it looks like when it’s done.
Either way, next year Lewis, George and Mercedes will enter one of the most intriguing chapters in F1 history that I am happy to witness and sincerely hope that true fans adopt it as a sports competition and not as a platform to promote malicious agendas.
Russell’s confirmation ensures that not only Mercedes but also our sport at the highest level are well served for the future. Let’s savor it.