Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Eight-time Champions of the World, and winners of seven of the past eight driver’s Championships.
They are one of the greatest racing teams of all time and there is a lot of excitement with the Silver Arrows this season with a brand new driver line-up arriving at the same time as a brand new set of regulations.
George Russell joins the team this season, after spending his first three seasons in Formula One racing for Williams.
He will partner Lewis Hamilton, who will be hoping that it is this season, where he claims his record-breaking eighth World Championship.
Obviously, Hamilton will be fired-up after the controversial ending to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last season, which saw his title slip away on the final lap of the race.
But Russell’s arrival means that Valtteri Bottas loses his seat with the team and he has moved to Alfa Romeo for this season.
And this won’t be Russell’s first time racing for Mercedes either after replacing Hamilton for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, after being part of the Mercedes Junior Team since 2017. He was so close to claiming not only his first points in the series but also his first victory before a pit stop confusion and a puncture saw the British driver slip to ninth place at the end of the race.
The team won nine races last season on their way to retaining the Constructor’s Championship and extending the record to most consecutive wins to eight.
Pre-season testing in both Barcelona and Bahrain showed that on paper Mercedes are going to struggle this season, with Hamilton saying that Mercedes are not in a position to fight for wins this season.
There are also suggestions that they may only have the third-fastest car, however, this is testing and if we look at previous history with the Silver Arrows, we know that they don’t usually show their true potential until we get to Q3 in the opening qualifying session of the season.
The pre-season shakedown in Barcelona was the first time we got to see all the cars on track for the first time and Mercedes used to lap the track on various programmes, with the British duo ending the final day’s running on top with Hamilton going slightly quicker than Russell.
On the opening day of testing in Bahrain, Russell was only ninth fastest, with Hamilton down in 11th place. However, the second day proved to be better on the timing screens, with Hamilton setting the fifth-fastest time of the day. Russell ended the session in 13th place.
The final day in Bahrain saw Hamilton in 5th place, and Russell all the way down in 17th place but again this is only testing and every single team were running different plans and programmes so we don’t know exactly what these really mean.
Mercedes’s aim for this season will be claiming a ninth constructor’s Championship in a row alongside helping one of their drivers to become World Champion.
George Russell will be a tough challenge for Lewis Hamilton, but it will also really allow us to see how good Russell really is when he is teamed up with a seven-time World Champion who is out for revenge.
The dynamic between the duo as the season progresses will be interesting to watch and I think that if there is any sense of negativity amongst the pair, it might just play into the hands of their closest competitors.