So Russell turned down an offer from Mercedes.

Published: Tuesday, 25 January, 2022 15:

It all happened in 2015. George Russell was already aiming to be one of the drivers with the most future in motorsports. And in Formula 1 they noticed him. Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes, got down to business.

But it didn’t turn out the way he expected. Because on that first approach, Russell turned down the offer. Something that Wolff did not like at all: “I think you are making a wrong decision. Let’s keep in touch and see how everything goes.”

“I had a BMW contract on the table and I was about to sign it. All of a sudden, I got a call from Gwen Lagrue (Mercedes consultant) while I was in the bathroom. She said she wanted to talk to me, and that’s where I really it all started,” says Russell.

The advisor then warned him that this was his only chance to sign with Mercedes. He was 16 years old… and finally he did accept the offer: “At that time it was the best championship, only behind Formula 1. I was 16 years old and suddenly there was a lot of money on the table. It was shocking. Everything came very suddenly.”

Finally, in 2019, Russell landed in F1 after dazzling in the lower categories. He signed as a Williams driver, always under a Mercedes contract, and there he showed that he was prepared for greater challenges. Sakhir 2020 was the key, replacing Lewis Hamilton, positive for coronavirus. After that race in which he came close to victory, it was clear that his official arrival at Mercedes would be soon.

And now the opportunity has come. If nothing goes wrong, he will share the box with Hamilton, seven times world champion, and will drive a single-seater that is always the favorite for everyone. The pressure will be total for young Russell.

He will take the place of a Valtteri Bottas who has been a great squire, but was never a candidate for anything else. In the silver arrows they do see Russell with the potential to become world champion. That will be seen from March, when the Formula 1 championship starts.