George Russell on new start at Merc: 'It feels like I'm returning home'

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George Russell
George Russell

George Russell has admitted it feels like he is "returning home to people who I've known for such a long time" as he prepares to line up alongside new teammate Lewis Hamilton in the 2022 F1 championship.

Russell got a brief taste of what to expect at the Silver Arrows after deputising for Hamilton back in December 2020 at the Sakhir GP following a positive Covid-19 test for the Mercedes driver.

He gave a good account of himself in that race, leading for several laps before a pitstop mix-up saw the Silver Arrows put two of Valtteri Bottas' tyres on his car, prompting Russell to return to the pits for another tyre change one lap later.

Russell was then dealt another blow in the latter stages of the race as a puncture forced him to pit once more, although he still managed to secure a respectable P9.

READ | New year, new team - this F1 driver is the most likely to adapt to his new team fastest

However, the former Williams man is now preparing to race alongside Hamilton after replacing Bottas in the off-season and admits it's an exceptional feeling.

"It's an incredibly special feeling to be an official Mercedes driver, and a bit of a strange feeling at the same time," Russell told motorsportweek.com.

"I spent so much time there in Formula 3 [and] Formula 2 as a junior driver. In a way, it feels like I'm returning home to people who I've known for such a long time.

"[I've been] getting up to speed with how the team operates again, which is something that I've really enjoyed.

READ | George Russell hits out at 'unacceptable' end to Abu Dhabi GP

"Because I spent so much time with the team before joining Williams in Formula 1 as a junior driver, I feel like I know everybody so well already.

"We got straight to business on the important bits and bobs to understand the car, understand the challenges and try to prepare as best as possible for the season ahead.

"Following the conclusion of last year, there's so much motivation and fire from the whole factory to bounce back. That's been incredible for me to see."

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