Russell reveals why he changed helmet design upon joining Mercedes

George Russell has been signed by Mercedes to replace Valtteri Bottas for 2022.

New Mercedes driver George Russell has revealed a new helmet design ahead of the 2022 season, and explains that he has changed it out of respect for former Mercedes driver and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Russell has been drafted in to replace the departing Valtteri Bottas after the Finn joined Alfa Romeo following five years with the eight-time constructors’ champions.

The 24-year-old out-qualified Williams team-mates Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi 57 times in 59 races during his three-year spell with the British outfit, and mightily impressed when he stepped into the Mercedes at Sakhir to deputise for Sir Lewis Hamilton after he tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020.

He was narrowly out-qualified by Bottas before passing him off the start, but a botched pit stop and a slow puncture cost him when he twice looked on course to win, pushing him down to ninth.

He scored his first Williams points in Hungary last year, before achieving a podium at the bizarre Belgian Grand Prix following a stupendous qualifying lap in wet conditions.

Having run with a predominantly red helmet previously, he has now incorporated a lot more black into the design.

“[It is] quite different in colours compared to what I’ve had previously,” he said in a Mercedes video.

The Briton wanted to respect Schumacher by veering away from the raspberry red that the 53-year-old ran with during his time at Mercedes and earlier on in his Ferrari career.

“I’ve gone for quite a bold black this season. The reason for that is I wanted to bring forward a really bold colour,” he explained.

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“I’ve mainly had red on my helmets previously but a red helmet in a Mercedes I thought is very Michael Schumacher, and I wanted to respect that and go in a different direction.

“I’ve brought forward the black, I’ve got the red on the side with the Crowdstrike [logo], and bringing forward this blue detailing which I really love.

“I think it looks really cool and really aggressive.”

Russell has previously said he hopes to be on the podium as early as the first round in Bahrain on 20 March, as an exciting new chapter of his career begins.