Mercedes has announced George Russell will partner Lewis Hamilton at the team for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Russell joined the Mercedes young driver programme in 2017, claiming back-to-back titles in GP3 and Formula 2 before graduating to F1 with Williams in 2019.

Despite singing with Williams during a bleak period for the Grove-based outfit, Russell has played a major role in its recent resurgence.

The Briton secured the team’s first Q3 appearance since 2018 at the Austrian Grand Prix, which he repeated at his home event at Silverstone.

Russell also ended a wait of 47 grand prix’s to score his first points for Williams in Hungary by finishing eighth, and a stunning qualifying at Spa saw him qualify on the front row and claim a maiden podium in the shortened rain-hit race.

The Briton will replace Valtteri Bottas following Monday’s announcement that he will join Alfa Romeo after a five-year stint at the German manufacturer.

“It’s a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions,” said Russell, who drove in a one-off appearance for Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. “I’m excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I’ll be saying goodbye to my team-mates and friends at Williams.

“It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1. Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs.

“We’ve battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second. No matter how tough it’s been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day. I’ve loved every moment in what I’d describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I’ll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way.

“Looking ahead to next season, 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. Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles.

“My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and 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.

“Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022. A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of you.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted the decision to drop Bottas in favour of hiring Russell wasn’t an “easy process”, but felt his performances for Williams proved he is a star of the future.

“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,” Wolff said.

“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.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders to have our plans for 2022 clear and announced; but now, our focus returns to the final nine races of this season and putting everything into our challenge for this year’s world championships.”