George Russell Open to Team Up with Verstappen at Mercedes

George Russell expresses enthusiasm about the prospect of having Max Verstappen as a teammate, affirming his support for the idea.

Following the surprising announcement in February regarding Lewis Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes at the conclusion of 2024, Toto Wolff is tasked with the mission of identifying a suitable replacement.

Numerous speculations have emerged regarding who might fill the vacancy. Esteban Ocon and Mick Schumacher have both been part of the discussion. However, F2 driver Kimi Antonelli has emerged as a strong contender, particularly after recently testing the W13 at Imola.

In recent months, an unexpected name has entered the conversation: Max Verstappen.

Despite signing an extension with the Milton-Keynes-based team back in 2022, binding him until 2028, rumors have circulated about Verstappen’s potential departure amidst the controversies surrounding Red Bull this season.

These rumors gained momentum, especially with the departure of renowned engineer Adrian Newey from the team after nearly two decades.

Despite the speculation, Verstappen has reiterated his commitment to Red Bull, indicating that he has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.

However, Toto Wolff has openly praised Verstappen, placing him at the forefront of candidates for the Mercedes seat and even holding meetings with the Dutch driver. Wolff’s praise drew criticism from Red Bull’s managing director, Oliver Mintzlaff, who remarked:

“I think Toto Wolff should concentrate on his challenges. He has enough of those. And it also has something to do with respect. If I keep talking about the personnel of other teams, that’s not right.”

Although it seems improbable that Verstappen will switch to Mercedes in the near future, George Russell voiced his support for the idea of the triple-time world champion joining the team and becoming his teammate.

Russell emphasized his belief in himself and the importance of competing against the best in equal machinery, stating:

“I believe in myself, and you need to go up against the best in the same machinery and show what you have got, so I feel that having Lewis as my team-mate for the past three years… He’s been a hell of a team-mate, such a great driver.

“And we push each other every single week and I think it’s fair to say that, so I will welcome Max, I want to go up against the best. Everybody wants to prove what they’ve got, so make it happen.”