Russell: “I would welcome Max” if Verstappen was to join Mercedes F1

George Russell on Thursday ahead of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix - Image Credit: Mercedes Benz Archive
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Mercedes’ George Russell pays homage to the outgoing Lewis Hamilton as he discusses the possibility of partnering a dominant Max Verstappen at Mercedes in the future.

With the announcement earlier this year that Lewis Hamilton would leave Mercedes at the end of 2024 following a twelve year stint at the team, rumours of who could partner George Russell upon the 7-time champions’ exit have been rampant. 

An enduring rumour that reigning champion Max Verstappen could join the team from Red Bull was put to Russell, with the Mercedes man welcoming the idea while also expressing his respect for outgoing teammate Hamilton.

“I’d be all for it to be honest,” said Russell when asked about the possibility of partnering a dominant Verstappen. “I think coming into Mercedes in 2022 was off the back of Lewis [Hamilton’s] legendary years and victories. That was a huge task for anybody, jumping into a team where he’s been for so long.

“I believe in myself. You need to up against the best in the same machinery and show what you’ve got. I feel that having Lewis as my teammate for the last three years, he’s been a hell of a teammate. Such a great driver and we push each other every single week. I think it’s fair to say that.

“So I would welcome Max [Verstappen]. I want to go against the best. Everybody wants to prove what they’ve got so yeah, make it happen.”

Russell was then asked if he is kept up to date by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and if he is asked for his input regarding the future of the team. Russell makes it clear that he has no qualms about partnering any driver Mercedes might choose to fill the seat of outgoing Hamilton.

He went on to explain he would relish the challenge of partnering Verstappen, but notes that the upcoming regulation changes are a bigger focus for the team than signing the current champion.

“Toto [Wolff] is always keeping me up to date,” Russell added. “He doesn’t need to ask my view or my opinion, I’ve made it clear that I would welcome anybody. I think having the chance to sign somebody like Max, every team would go for it.

“As I’ve said before I’d love to have that opportunity, going against Max. I feel privileged to have had the chance, being teammates with Lewis who still is statistically the greatest driver of all time and week in week out battling it out with him. 

“So to get a chance again to do that with somebody like Max would be great for me personally because I believe in myself and my abilities. But I think for Mercedes, it’s a long term project. We’ve got the big rules coming up in 2026 and it’s important to have good harmony from 2025 into 2026.

“Ultimately I think it goes down to the 2000 people at the factory, between the engine, the chassis, the new fuels that are coming which is ultimately going to make the biggest difference. Of course, as I said before, if you could sign Max, who wouldn’t?”