Mercedes looked destined to be the long term home of George Russell ever since he impressed while driving for the team in Sakhir, covering for Lewis Hamilton when he contracted COVID-19.
The young Brit looked highly likely to win that race if it was not for a pit stop error and a puncture, beating Valtteri Bottas, who he would eventually replace at Mercedes.
Three years at Williams saw Russell defy all expectations and blow his teammate Nicholas Latifi out of the water in his final season, before being chosen by Toto Wolff to replace the Alfa Romeo bound Bottas.
In the wake of Russell’s maiden win in F1, Wolff claimed that he regrets leaving his young driver at Williams for so long, after he has hit the ground running in a turbulent year for Mercedes.
The 24-year-old is said to share a respectful relationship with his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who he eventually beat in this season’s drivers’ championship, but has admitted that it is not always easy being paired with the seven-time world champion.
“I feel very fortunate to be in this team, teammates with Lewis, learning a huge amount, being pushed to my limits,” said the young Brit.
“It’s not easy being teammates with somebody as fast and great as he is. But it had been a great year in many regards.
“What we all do, every single person in this paddock, we are so fortunate to travel the world, us driving the fastest cars in the world around the best tracks in the world.
“I’m knackered now, but still, there’s a lot to look back and be happy about.”
Russell experienced somewhat of a rough patch during his first season with Mercedes, finding himself involved in a number of collisions with other drivers that ruined their race, such as Carlos Sainz in Austin.
Since then the 24-year-old has bounced back to win both the sprint race and main event in Brazil, his first win in Formula 1 and Mercedes first of the season.
Russell finished ahead of Hamilton in the driver’s championship, however the 37-year-old has argued that this is because he spent the first half of the season experimenting with the car, while Russell was extracting everything he could out of what he had.
Toto Wolff has said that both drivers are strong characters and that the team are ready for a similar situation to Hamilton’s relationship with Nico Rosberg, should the team be challenging for titles again in 2023.