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Who will drive for Mercedes in 2022?
Mercedes Formula 1 drivers will be Lewis Hamilton and George Russel. The Mercedes seats are currently the most coveted, similar to Marlboro decorated McLaren or the 2000s Ferrari team.
For the 2022 season, Mercedes let Valtteri Bottas go and replaced him with another brit, the young G. Russel. He had a promising showing in Sakhir last year when he replaced Hamilton while he was out. Russel qualified just 0.026 seconds behind Bottas but managed to pass on the first lap and for a while, it seemed like he will bring it home. Unfortunately, his race went down the drain as he was put on a mixed tyre set and had to go back to the pits for it.
Mercedes driver #1: Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton will be the driver number 1 for obvious reasons, he has won 6 drivers’ titles with Mercedes and by now as a 36 year old with 15 seasons under his belt is a true veteran of the series. His contract spans from 2021 to 2023. This gives him time to try out the new regulations but doesn’t keep him too tied if the car ends up slow.
Lewises switch to Mercedes was seen as a bit of a gamble back in 2013 but has certainly paid off. Mercedes has been the most dominant Formula 1 team ever. Winning all the titles 7 years in a row. Hamilton finished the first season in Merc in the 4th position, the year after that in 2014 he was a World Champion. The seats before hamilton arrived were occupied by Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Schumacher and Rosberg. The latter became his sparring partner for the next Championships.
Mercedes driver #2: George Russel
George russell mercedes contract length is also long-term. This is a bit of a surprise, a good one. It means Mercedes trust Russel and for him it would also be a bit less stress that comes with being a Mercedes Formula 1 driver.
He has proved himself in Williams already and seems to be confident about his potential to battle for the Championship. For Russel, the next steps would be to build a good relationship with Toto and the higher-ups in Mercedes to ensure a comfortable stay. The relationship was previously affected by a shunt in Imola where the youngster crashed into Bottas.
“The whole situation should have never happened,” Toto Wolff said. “Valtteri had a bad first 30 laps, and shouldn’t have been there. But George should have never launched into this manoeuvre, considering that the track was drying up. It meant taking risks, and the other car is a Mercedes in front of him. In any driver’s development, for a young driver, you must never lose this global perspective. So yeah, lots to learn for him I guess.”
After the incident George and Toto spoke in private and the young brit received a lot of tough love. Toto even said jokingly that the seat he would offer to Russel is to race in Renault Clio Cup.
George Russel: “There was a lot of tough love. But he ultimately wants to extract the absolute maximum from me, or from what he believes I can achieve.”
“And I think I’m mentally strong enough to be able to take this stuff on the chin, take it on board, reflect on it and come back stronger.”
So it looks like Russel has taken his Ls and learned from them and can go into his next chapter confidently and with a great and honest relationship with the Mercedes guys.
Mercedes Formula 1 drivers of the future
For the next seasons we will see two British drivers in the Mercedes car but Lewis is starting to become old, bluntly put. If he is still motivated to race up to his 40s like other veterans of the sport like Kimi have managed he might as well stay. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to see more rumours about him either switching teams or retiring altogether.