F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season
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George Russell has been handed a promotion to Mercedes, according to reports. RacingNews365.com understands that a deal has been signed that will see George Russell driving for the reigning champions next season after his fine display at the Belgian Grand Prix.
He would replace Valtteri Bottas who is thought to have reached an agreement to drive for Alfa Romeo and replace his compatriot Kimi Raikonnen, who is set to retire.
The publication adds that the 2007 F1 World Champion is poised to announce his retirement at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix after 20 years on the circuit.
Bottas was perhaps persuaded to head to Alfa Romeo as he and team boss Frederic Vasseur have known each other for a long time.
He won the Zandvoort Masters in 2009 and 2010 for Vasseur’s ART team, as well as the GP3 Championship in 2011 with Vasseur at the helm.
The expectation was an announcement regarding the new deals would have been made this past weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix, but no confirmation was given.
JUST IN: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told who to pick in Russell vs Bottas decision by F1 chief
It is possible that Alex Albon will be the driver to fill the spot left by Russell at Williams.
The 25-year-old is currently a reserve and simulator driver for both Red Bull and AlphaTauri after being replaced by Sergio Perez at the former camp in the summer/
Both Christian Horner and Dr. Helmut Marko have recently indicated a desire to help Albon find a way to continue in Formula 1.
Marko quoted by Kronen Zeitung as saying: “Alex is a talent. We didn’t write him off after his time at Red Bull in Formula 1. He’ll get his chance again in Formula 1 – wherever [that is].”
Current Formula E champion Nyck De Vries, has been tipped to replace Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo, the report adds.
The Italian driver was moved aside by Ferrari to join their Hypercar programme for the World Endurance Championship.
While it seems like it is a done deal, last month the 1998 and 1999 F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen urged Mercedes to snub George Russell and keep Valtteri Bottas.
He told RTL: “If you look at the facts, the results in all the years Valtteri has driven with Lewis (Hamilton) – what the team has achieved with these two drivers – you can’t beat that.
“It’s incredible, it’s been brilliant.”
He gushed over Bottas’ ability in the car and mentioned the challenges of driving alongside someone of the calbre of Hamilton.
“He (Bottas) is a brilliant driver. He’s being criticised too much. Far too much,” said the 52-year-old former McLaren driver.
The races are coming thick and fast as the Dutch Grand Prix will take place this weekend.
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