Mercedes has finally confirmed that George Russell will race for the team alongside Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 from next season.
Russell has been backed by Mercedes since his junior career and has spent the last three seasons racing in Formula 1 for Williams.
He also made a one-off appearance for Mercedes at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing Covid-positive Hamilton, and controlled large swathes of the race.
The Briton scored his first points with Williams in Hungary and followed it up with a shock front-row spot and podium in the rain-shortened race in Belgium.
Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas, who has joined Alfa Romeo, taking the spot vacated by Kimi Räikkönen.
“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions,” said Russell.
“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.
“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 has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles. 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.”