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George Russell

Russell relishes prospect of Verstappen partnership

George Russell would be open to Max Verstappen joining him at Mercedes in the future.

Russell Verstappen
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has stressed that he would not be afraid of either joining Max Verstappen at Red Bull or having the Dutchman join him at Mercedes, the latter being more likely with the Briton being "loyal" to the Silver Arrows. 

The Mercedes driver is contracted to the Brackley-based outfit until the end of 2025 but is currently unaware of who will replace Lewis Hamilton. 

Mercedes' teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli is the favourite, but Verstappen's name has been rumoured. 

Team principal Toto Wolff has not kept it secret that he would love to sign Verstappen, although the Dutchman has a deal with Red Bull until the end of 2028. 

However, with Adrian Newey departing Red Bull and with the side potentially not being the strongest team when the new power unit regulations are introduced in 2026, anything is possible – as proven by Hamilton joining Ferrari. 

The prospect of being Verstappen's team-mate does not scare Russell, who would not be shocked if the 26-year-old opts against racing in 2026, to see who has the best car. 

"I wouldn't shy away from jumping alongside Max, nor would I shy away from him jumping in with us," Russell told the Daily Mail

"I had the biggest challenge of joining Mercedes against the greatest driver of all time statistically, in qualifying and in the race, and I performed against him, and that's all I can do.

"Max can take a year off for 2026 and see which the best team is. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he did that. Remember, 2026 is a lottery. So, you truly don't know what will transpire. 

"I am a loyal guy and Mercedes have given me the opportunity, but I want to be a world champion. That's not us at the moment. But a year ago McLaren were the slowest team and now they are the quickest."

'I'm not worried'

Verstappen is undeniably the strongest driver in F1 currently, although it did take him until his seventh campaign to fight for a world championship. 

Russell, is only in the opening stages of his sixth F1 season, giving him hope and belief that his chance to win a title will eventually come. 

The likes of Fernando Alonso being in his early 40s and still performing strongly also gives Russell confidence that time is on his side. 

"What gives me hope is that Max was in his seventh season when he fought for a title and I’m in my sixth, and I’m 26, and Fernando Alonso is 43," Russell added. 

"Seeing him perform as he is, I see no reason why I can’t go into my forties. So, I know my time will come. I’m not worried at all.

"I believe we will get our chance. Now it is Max’s chance, but for the first six years it wasn’t, which was frustrating for him. So, I have to keep working hard and not lose motivation because you don’t know when that chance will come. 

"Lando and Charles and I have won races, but none of us has had the chance to fight for championships."

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