On Tuesday morning, Mercedes finally announced Russell as Valtteri Bottas’ replacement. 

Russell has enjoyed a fine 2021 campaign for Williams, scoring the team’s first podium in over four years at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Speaking of the announcement, Russell said: “It's a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions. 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 teammates 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. Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs. We've battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second. 

“No matter how tough it's been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day. I've loved every moment in what I'd describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I'll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way.”

Russell will go up against Hamilton - who is statistically F1’s greatest driver with seven titles and 99 victories to his name.

The 23-year-old expects there to be a “steep learning curve” as he adapts to life at Mercedes.

“Looking ahead to next season, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely buzzing, Russell added. “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.

“Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles. 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 new teammates 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 both on and off-track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.”

Team boss Toto Wolff is confident the Russell-Hamilton partnership will continue to bring even more success to the German manufacturer.

“Looking forward to 2022, we are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes,” he said. “He has been a winner in every racing category - and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1. 

“Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time. I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead.”