George Russell in action in Holland at the weekend. Pictures: WILLIAMS.

MOTOR SPORT: George Russell will be in Formula 1’s hottest seat next season.

The King’s Lynn-born driver has signed a long-term contract with Mercedes for the 2022 season and beyond and will be driving alongside multiple world champion Lewis Hamilton.

After three seasons with Williams Racing, Russell will depart at the end of the current campaign to join reigning World Constructors’ Champions, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, partnering the seven-time World Drivers’ champion and British compatriot Hamilton.

Russell has enjoyed three memorable years with the Williams team, including helping the team take their first double-points scoring finish in three years at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, as well as securing their first podium since 2017 at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.

George Russell. Pictures: WILLIAMS.

“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions,” said Russell.

“I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my team-mates and friends at Williams.

“It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1.

“Looking ahead to next season, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely buzzing. It’s a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I’m under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it’s going to be a steep learning curve.

“My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud.

“Of course, one of those is, in my opinion, the greatest driver of all time. I’ve looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional and a human being.”

A late issue forced Russell to retire with only two laps remaining at Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix, classifying him in 17th place.