Russell welcomes Max Verstappen challenge at Mercedes

George Russell narrowly trails Hamilton in points across 2022 and 2023 (450pts to 474pts)

-

George Russell has said he doesn’t fear Max Verstappen joining Mercedes, believing he can beat anyone on the grid and that he always wants to go up on the best following shock rumours that the Dutchman could quit Red Bull.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Christian Horner it has been speculated that Verstappen could leave the defending world champions, meaning that one of the best drivers ever, in his prime, is suddenly on the market.

And Toto Wolff’s team currently have a vacant seat after Lewis Hamilton announced he will be joining Ferrari in 2025, one year prior to the conclusion of his contract. Wolff has been a long time admirer of Verstappen and regrets missing out on the chance to sign the three-time champion in 2014 when he was a youngster.

So now Wolff could finally get his man following meetings with Jos Verstappen, his father, and when asked about it afterwards, he said “anything is possible, but Russell isn’t afraid of going up against the 54-time race winner, who dominated the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

“This is my third season now alongside Lewis [Hamilton], the greatest driver of all time, and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job along alongside him,” Russell said to media ahead of the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP. “So, whoever I were to line up alongside me next year, or the years to come, I welcome anybody, I welcome the challenge.

“You always want to go against the best but ultimately for me, I just focus on myself. I believe in myself. I believe I can be anybody on the grid and you’ve just got to have that mentality.”

Verstappen’s Red Bull exit clause

Verstappen has been close to Helmut Marko since his time as a teenager, when the Austrian brought him onboard into the Red Bull family back in 2014. Marko is someone the Dutchman is fiercely loyal to, perhaps more than anyone except his own dad.

So in order to protect the senior Red Bull figure from any unfair treatment, he is rumored by F1Insider.com to have an exit clause written into his 2028 contract outlining that if Marko leaves the same then Verstappen can instantly do so too.

This is particularly significant as the current tension within the team appears to be connected to a power struggle, rather than an issue of performance, with the Horner controversy thought to be a manifestation of the aforementioned struggle between senior Red Bull figures.

Although the figures have not been named, tensions between Marko and Horner have been apparent following the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull founder, in 2022. Notably, Sergio Perez has proven to be a divisive discussion point.

With Red Bull thought to be on the cusp of an exodus of critical personnel as the board plans to back Horner through this situation, Marko could quit and, in turn, release Verstappen to seek out any team he likes.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

How a change of approach helped Jake Hughes take maiden podium at the Shanghai...

0
After 27 races, McLaren driver Jake Hughes took his first podium in Formula E, clinching second place at the...

Red Bull bosses agree on Liam Lawson F1 prospects in 2025

0
Christian Horner and RB CEO Peter Bayer refused to back Liam Lawson's prospects for a full-time Formula 1 drive...

After Carlos Sainz’s Mercedes denial, why does his future remain an enigma?

0
Ferrari swinging the axe on Carlos Sainz's career in scarlet must have stung, but the Spaniard at least had...

Where does Charles Leclerc rank 2024 Monaco Grand Prix win?

0
Charles Leclerc is a race winner for the first time in almost two years as the Ferrari ace crushed...

What we learned from the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix

0
The 2024 Monaco Grand Prix may not have served up a classic, but it wasn’t short on storylines as...

Look away Checo – Horner praises Perez’s F1 rival as star fights for Red...

0
Christian Horner insists Red Bull will make a decision about Sergio Perez's Red Bull future "in the fullness of...

F1 Winners and Losers of 2024 Monaco GP

0
Charles Leclerc vanquished his Monte Carlo demons to finally take victory at his home race, while Red Bull continued...

F1 Driver Ratings – Monaco GP 2024

0
Charles Leclerc was in dreamland as the Ferrari driver finally celebrated an elusive victory at home race at the...

2024 Indy 500 Race Results

0
Josef Newgarden joined an elite group of drivers by winning the Indy 500 for the second consecutive year in...

Newgarden takes sensational Indy 500 win after epic battle for glory

0
The Indianapolis 500 never fails to excite and even a four-hour rain delay couldn't dampen the drama for IndyCar's...
- Advertisment -
Exit mobile version