Lewis Hamilton says that George Russell has earned his place at Mercedes on merit, ahead of the pair becoming teammates in 2022.
Current Williams racer Russell was announced as the replacement for the departing Valtteri Bottas on Tuesday morning, following confirmation that the Finn is leaving to join Alfa Romeo next year.
With an all-British line-up at Mercedes for the start of the new regulation cycle next year, the change of dynamic at the team means that Hamilton will be the elder statesman, with Russell looking to learn from his veteran champion teammate.
Russell has already admitted to idolising Hamilton when he was younger, while Hamilton has said he has experienced the exact emotions that Russell is feeling after getting the call up by a big team.
"I want to take a moment to welcome George Russell to the team," Hamilton wrote on Instagram.
"I remember meeting him when he was young, dreaming of one day being a Formula 1 driver.
"I'd only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him. He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly.
"Through hard work he has rightly earned his spot on our team. I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise Mercedes higher. See you next year!"