‘You’re in!’ Toto Wolff reveals barrier to George Russell joining Mercedes

George Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes at the start of this season.

George Russell has started life at Mercedes better than anyone could’ve predicted, with the Brit currently ahead of seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton in his first year at the Silver Arrows.

It was expected throughout 2021 that Russell would replace Valtteri Bottas at the Germans for this season, something that was confirmed after Bottas signed for Alfa Romeo a day after the Dutch Grand Prix.

Bottas’ move to the Hinwil-based side was to replace fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who retired from the sport last season.

When the Finn was announced as a 2022 Alfa Romeo driver, Russell was quickly confirmed as Hamilton’s team-mate from 2022 on a multi-year deal.

Valtteri Bottas and girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell in 2021.v1

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Russell has arguably done his value no damage at all, with the Brit’s market price seemingly having skyrocketed due to performing exceptionally in a shocking car.

In his debut season for the side who have won the last eight Constructors’ Championships, the 24-year-old has claimed eight podiums and one pole position, which remains as the Germans only pole position this season.

The former Williams driver is currently fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and sits 27 points ahead of Hamilton, who is a concerning sixth in the standings.

Wolff is understandably delighted by the job that Russell has done this season, after knowing last year that he “wanted” Russell in the team.

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However, the Austrian has revealed that he wasn’t prepared to announce the signing of Russell until Bottas had found a home for 2022.

“For myself, I knew pretty early that I wanted to have George in the car,” Wolff explained in an interview with Channel 4.

“But I didn’t commit to George before I knew that Valtteri had found a good place.

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“I didn’t communicate to anybody outside because that is the respect I have for people that that I care about.

“And when Valtteri’s deal was done over August, over the break period, then I went back to George and told him: ‘You’re in, we want you to be in the car,’ knowing that Valtteri had his place.

“And I said to George, because obviously it was a long period for him to wait. I said: ‘I will do the same for you’, and that I think he understood.”