Mercedes decision on Russell ‘went down like a lead balloon’ with Hamilton

Mercedes' decision to bring in George Russell did not go down well with Lewis Hamilton, according to reports.

The 23-year-old has been confirmed as Hamilton's teammate from next season, replacing Valtteri Bottas, 32, who is moving to Alfa Romeo.

The Daily Mail claim the decision to bring Russell in upset Hamilton, with the move going 'down like a lead balloon' with the defending champion.

A source is said to have told the Mail: “He (Hamilton) wanted Valtteri as a team-mate because he is compliant and not quite quick enough to trouble him, but that's not what is happening.

“You could say, as far as Lewis is concerned, it's gone down like a lead balloon.”

Following Tuesday's announcement, Hamilton took to Instagram to welcome Russell to Mercedes.

The 36-year-old penned: “I want to take a moment to welcome @georgerussell63 to the team.

“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.”

Do you think Mercedes have made the right decision replacing Valtteri Bottas with George Russell? Let us know in the comments section.

"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 @mercedesamgf1 higher. See you next year.”

Russell axknowledged how challenging it will be to drive for the reigning champions next year, but it is an opportunity he relishes.

He gushed over his new teammate Hamilton and is looking forward to driving alongside the racing legend.

Russell wrote: 'I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely buzzing. It's a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I'm under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it's going to be a steep learning curve.

"I want to do my new team-mates proud. Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time.

"I've looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being.

"For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team."

Upon signing Russell, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said: “Looking forward to 2022, we are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes.

'He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1. Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.

"I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years to come."

Mercedes were beaten by Red Bull at the Dutch Grand Prix this past weekend and will be looking to turn the tables at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

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