George Russell has revealed he knows where he will be driving in F1 in 2022 and that he was informed of the decision ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Russell, though, is still refusing to divulge his destination, although it has become increasingly obvious since F1's return from the summer break that the Briton will be partnering Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season.
Suggested to Russell he was central to F1's 'silly season', asked whether he knew where he would be driving in 2022, he replied: "As it currently stands I have no news to announce really, the same position as we were in Spa."
The interviewer responded by asking: "But George, do YOU know where you are going to be driving in 2022?"
After a chuckle, Russell said: "Yes, I know where I'll be driving next year."
It was later pointed out to Russell that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had implied in a comment across the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that he had made his decision towards the end of the summer break.
Asked at what point he was informed of that decision, after a long pause, Russell replied: "Verbally before Spa.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie and not say the truth. The truth is there is nothing to announce but, as I said, I'm aware of the situation, of where I'll be racing next year, and I was informed just prior to Spa."
Hamilton the greatest of all time - Russell
The feeling already is Russell will prove a less harmonious team-mate for Hamilton than Bottas has been over the years as he will be determined to prove himself.
Russell, though, is conscious of not wanting to be an internal disruption.
"As I've said a number of times over the past three years, I've a huge amount of respect for Lewis and everything he has achieved," added Russell.
"I've seen him working incredibly hard with the engineers when I was there as a junior driver, and that he definitely doesn't just rely on his immense natural talent. He goes above and beyond to try to find the extra bits.
"For any driver, you want the opportunity to go against the best and learn from the best, and that would be an incredible opportunity to be there.
"But don't take anything from me saying this now because these are the same things I've said the past three years.
"Lewis is the greatest of all time and it would be a huge opportunity to go alongside him and learn from him."
What do you think?
Whilst I am delighted for George and am looking forward to his contribution next year, I can't help but feel rather more than a tinge of sadness for Valterie! He is and has been an enormous asset for Wolf et al; a remarkable second for Lewis, a dedicated and reliable team mate, a steady presence for the team and a an altogether thoroughly decent man!! Qualities that have become rather rare in today's climate of drivers. I shall miss him. Bravo Bottas.
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