Lewis Hamilton’s teammate reveals George Russell signing for Mercedes
George Russell has finally been announced as the 2022 Mercedes Formula 1 driver, replacing Valtteri Bottas. Russell will be Lewis Hamilton’s sixth team-mate in F1, but who are they and how do they stack up against the seven-time champion?
Russell joins Mercedes from Williams
After being linked for the seat alongside Hamilton for most of the summer, Mercedes announced on Tuesday morning that it had selected Russell to succeed Williams.
The 23-year-old Briton has joined what the team calls a “long-term deal” and has been with Williams for three years since his F1 debut in 2019.
He has raced for Mercedes once before – the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Russell represents Hamilton after testing positive for covid-19.
Russell was second and looked confident while leading his first Grand Prix.
However, later tire confusion during a pitstop and a puncture cost him his chance to challenge for victory.
He scored his first F1 points in ninth, plus the fastest lap.
Russell scored his first point for Williams in the chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.
At Spa, he started with a stunning lap in wet qualifying and finished second in the Belgian Grand Prix.
That “race” was abandoned after one lap, meaning Russell finished second on his first F1 podium.
He will be Hamilton’s sixth team-mate in F1, let’s take a look at the other five.
Lewis Hamilton takes on world champion teammate
Hamilton’s first F1 teammate was Fernando Alonso, the two-time world champion defending at McLaren in 2007.
Hamilton made his intentions clear by driving just outside Alonso in the first corner of his first race in Australia.
The relationship was amicable at first, but quickly became tense.
In Canada, Hamilton started by hanging Alonso outside to dry – the Spanish driver ran out onto the grass and onto the pitch.
In Indianapolis, Alonso hummed on the pit wall in protest when Hamilton blocked his overtaking attempt.
World champion teammates fight back
Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix has reached its climax.
Alonso left Hamilton in the pits after a pit stop to change tyres.
The Briton failed to get Alonso through what was called the “fuel-burning stage” of qualifying.
In the pit lane, Alonso stayed put despite the green light from the team.
Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images
When he finally pulled away, he had just started to fly a circle.
Provisional pole driver Hamilton missed the flag as Alonso completed a lap on pole.
As Hamilton went on to win his third Grand Prix, he was penalised by race officials.
For the rest of 2007, the relationship took a nosedive, and the Spygate saga surrounding McLaren and Ferrari worsened.
In China, Hamilton has a chance to become the first rookie world champion in wet conditions.
Instead of doing the best thing for Hamilton’s race, however, McLaren wanted to cover up what Alonso – still their own driver – had done.
The result was that when Hamilton pitted, he slipped into a gravel trap on the badly worn middle tire and retired.
Kimi Raikkonen snatch the title from Hamilton from a 17-point deficit in China after McLaren had gearbox problems in the final in Brazil.
Hamilton and Alonso finished the race with 109 points in 2007, with four wins each.
With more second places (5-4), Hamilton was runner-up and Alonso was third.
First F1 teammate to beat Lewis Hamilton
After Alonso left Renault for Renault in 2008, Finn Heikki Kovalainen took a different approach.
He spent two seasons at McLaren, winning the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix – his only F1 victory.
However, he failed to consistently catch up to Hamilton, who finished seventh when Hamilton won his first world title in 2008.
In 2010, McLaren’s defending world champion Jenson Button joined Hamilton.
Given McLaren is seen as Hamilton’s team, some see a risk to Button, who has outperformed Hamilton during his three-year tenure.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Between 2010-2012, Hamilton had 10 Grand Prix victories and Button had eight, but the latter was more consistent.
Button scored 672 points in three years, and Hamilton scored 657.
In 2011, a year when Hamilton faced off-track issues, Button became the first teammate to beat Hamilton in a season.
He tied Hamilton’s three wins and finished runner-up to runaway champion Sebastian Vettel.
Increasingly frustrated with McLaren’s lack of ability to provide him with a car capable of challenging the dominant Vettel, Hamilton looked elsewhere in 2013.
He chose to join Mercedes, a move that was heavily criticized and questioned at the time…
Lewis Hamilton’s most explosive teammate fight
Hamilton and Mercedes’ new teammate Nico Rosberg got off to a good start in 2013 – as they are old friends from the karting era.
In the second race in Malaysia, Mercedes issued a team order to stop Rosberg from overtaking the fuel-efficient Hamilton.
The pair did well with three victories, with Mercedes finishing second in the team.
By 2014, Mercedes dominated, as either Rosberg or Hamilton would be world champions from the first round.
An all-time great battle in Bahrain kept things running smoothly thanks to Rosberg’s use of a team-banned engine mode.
Photo by Steve Etherington/Getty Images
Hamilton did the same in Spain, winning both times.
In Monaco, Hamilton declared “we are not friends” after Rosberg made an awkward qualifying run wide to secure pole position.
Hamilton will easily take the 2014 title and keep it in ’15 as Rosberg can’t match his team-mate.
2016: Mercedes teammates battled hardest
Things started going wrong in 2016.
Frustrated with poor reliability early in the season, Hamilton had to see Rosberg win four to start the season.
In Spain, the German jumped on turn 1 with the wrong engine mode.
Hamilton sprinted inside at Turn 4 and Rosberg screened the inside.
Both were present.
This is the second time they have collided as teammates, after Rosberg beat Hamilton at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
On the final lap in Austria they were in trouble again as Rosberg suddenly forgot how to make a right turn on the right.
Hamilton won that race and Rosberg limped back to fourth.
Rosberg takes on Hamilton
Engine failure in Hamilton, Malaysia is critical.
He was winning handily before the Mercedes powerplant exploded.
Rosberg finished third before winning again in Japan as Hamilton could only recover to third after a poor start.
That race at Suzuka means Rosberg has the ability to finish second in the remaining four races of the year and still be the champion.
That’s exactly what he did, taking the title by five points in the final in Abu Dhabi, despite Hamilton ignoring orders from the team and trying to back Rosberg into the chase led by Vettel.
A few days later, Rosberg finally retired from F1.
Not only did he equal Button’s achievement in 2011 and beat Hamilton in a season, but he became the first man to win a world title.
Rosberg isn’t ready to put in as much effort again in 2017 as he did in ’16.
He took the title from Hamilton and then made sure his teammates could never take it back from him.
Lewis Hamilton’s “wingman” teammate
Valtteri Bottas is too good to be a No. 2 driver.
As Rosberg’s replacement, he caught up with Mercedes after retiring and the Finn became the fifth driver to be a Hamilton team-mate in 2017.
The pair recorded 55 victories and four straight titles during their tenures.
Bottas, though, did not engage in psychological warfare like Rosberg did, nor did he sway Hamilton.
Knowing that he has a solid number two behind him, Hamilton has gone from one of F1’s best drivers to the greatest in history.
Team boss Toto Wolff described Bottas as Hamilton’s “wingman”, and Bottas sometimes ordered either not to attack Hamilton (Germany, 2018) or to get out of the way completely (Russia, 2018).
Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images
At the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday, Bottas was asked not to set the fastest lap so that Hamilton could get extra points for the honour.
Bottas will be heading to Alfa Romeo in 2022, as Russell will become the sixth driver to be Hamilton’s team-mate, as F1 enters a new era defined by new technical rules.
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Jack usually writes or reads anything related to motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British truck racing. His work as a motorsport reporter has been published in prestigious outlets such as Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News. In addition to racing, he is an avid amateur astronomer, podcast listener, and enjoys walks in the park with his three dogs.
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