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Zak Brown: “Verstappen and Russell in Mercedes by 2022”

Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing walks in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 25, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown believes Max Verstappen and George Russell will be competing in Mercedes by the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Brown doubts Hamilton’s continuity in the sport beyond the 2021 season, which could leave a free seat at the 7-time Constructors’ World Champions, with Bottas’s continuity with the Silver Arrows in doubt.

“I think you will see Max and George there [in Mercedes] in 2020,” Brown told UK’s Daily Mail. “I think that is the obvious conclusion. Lewis wins title number 8 this year and is the winningest driver in every category; they have a one-year deal with him. George is coming out of his deal and Max has a deal he comes out of.

“You have Max’s experience and youth, you have George’s youth. If I am Mercedes that is a pretty killer line-up for the next five years.”

Brown also reflexed on Red Bull, because if Verstappen moves to Mercedes by 2022 it’ll be the end of the Austrian-based team’s strongest partnership in recent years.

“The interesting thing is what does Red Bull do? That’s a harder one to answer,” said Brown.

“It’s tough for them. Everyone is locked down. And Lewis has spent his entire career with Mercedes, either through the works team or with McLaren and I think as Michael Schumacher was fundamentally a Ferrari man – though he ended up with Mercedes – Lewis has this opportunity to be a career Mercedes man so I don’t know why he would move.”

To conclude, Brown gave a small insight on McLaren’s progress, saying it will “get harder,” but that it’s great.

“The first hard two years were like 20 years, the last two years of improvement have passed like two minutes.

“It will get harder at the front but that is a sign of progress. There is work to be done but it is great and I am loving every minute of it,” Brown concluded.

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