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George Russell

Russell responds to Verstappen's Mercedes switch rumour

Max Verstappen has been linked with a switch to Mercedes for next year amid ongoing tensions within the Red Bull organisation.

Verstappen Bahrain pole Russell
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George Russell has insisted it would be “exciting” to partner with Max Verstappen at Mercedes.

Amid intra-team drama at the Red Bull squad, suggestions have arisen that Verstappen could be an option for Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton in the squad next year when the seven-time champion joins Ferrari.

Although Verstappen has a contract in place until the end of 2028, RacingNews365 has learned that the Dutchman has an exit clause in his contract should Helmut Marko depart the team.

Marko has conceded he would not stand in Verstappen's way if the three-time World Champion wished to leave Red Bull.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is adamant there is no rush to decide on Russell's 2025 teammate, with the seat likely to be highly sought after due to its position in the pecking order and recent championship success in the turbo-hybrid era.

Russell confident he can 'beat everyone'

Speaking to media including RacingNews365 in Saudi Arabia, Russell declared that he would have no issues going up against Verstappen.

“Every team wants to have the best driver line-up,” he said.

“Right now, Max is the best driver on the grid. If any team had the chance to sign Max, they 100 per cent would be taking it.

“I think the question is more on the other side, on his and Red Bull's side - there's so much going on there.

“We don't know what is truly going on behind closed doors and ultimately it's none of our business right now. But it would be exciting.”

Having spent two full seasons alongside Hamilton at Mercedes, Russell has backed himself to compete against any driver on the grid.

“This is my third season now alongside Lewis, who is the greatest driver of all time. I feel like I've done a pretty good job alongside him.

“Whoever was to line up alongside me next year or in the years to come, I would welcome anybody. I welcome a challenge.

“You always want to go against the best, but ultimately for me I'm just focused on myself. I believe in myself, I believe I can beat everyone on the grid. You've just got to have that mentality.

“Having Lewis as my benchmark for the last two years has been a pretty good benchmark for sure.”

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