Hamilton full of praise for Russell amid talk of Mercedes F1 promotion

Lewis Hamilton has given a glowing endorsement of potential future Formula 1 teammate George Russell and says he would welcome his compatriot at Mercedes.
Hamilton full of praise for Russell amid talk of Mercedes F1 promotion

Williams racer Russell is widely expected to be promoted alongside Hamilton for the 2022 season as a replacement for Valtteri Bottas, who in turn is poised to take the Alfa Romeo seat vacated by the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.

Speaking about the mounting driver market speculation ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton said he imagines the prospect of a teammate relationship with Russell to be “quite good”.

“I honestly think it would be good,” Hamilton said. “George is an incredibly talented driver, clearly. I would say probably the only highlight from last week was his qualifying lap, it was amazing.

“I think he’s humble, I think he’s got a great approach. Naturally being British I would imagine probably helps in terms of communication.

“At the moment naturally I have to be super supportive of the teammate I have right now, so that’s why I’m always supportive of Valtteri because we have a job to do right now. Neither of us can win the team championship alone, we have to do it collectively.

“But he’s the future, he’s one of the members of the future of the sport. I think he’s already shown incredible driving so far and I’m sure he’s going to continue to grow.

“So where better to do it than in a great team like this, or what team wherever he goes to.”

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B.
George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B.
© xpbimages.com

Earlier on Thursday, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said Russell’s expected arrival at Mercedes would make life “very difficult” for Hamilton.

But Hamilton dismissed Verstappen’s comment, insisting he feels he has nothing to prove and would welcome the challenge posed by Russell.

“It’s not like I have anything to prove,” Hamilton said. "I raced against some incredible drivers as teammates. My rookie year I was alongside Fernando [Alonso].

“I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to prove. If anything, if it does turn out I’ve got a new teammate, I’m in a different place in my life. I’m excited to see the youngsters coming through.

“It’s not that I want to lose to a youngster, naturally! But I’m excited to see the progression of the sport as I am a fan of the sport at the end of the day. You’ve heard me earlier on in the year talk about Lando.

“It’s encouraging to see these youngsters come through. They’re fierce, I see a lot of myself in the younger generation. I think they’re what the sport is going to rely on moving forward. There will be things we learn from each other.”

And Hamilton insisted suggestions of Russell’s arrival potentially upsetting the team dynamic were “not a concern” to him.

“Naturally when you start with someone new, it takes time, even when we have a new engineer or new mechanic, it takes a moment for them to gel in,” he explained.

“But George has already been on the circuit with the team, he’s already done a race with the team, he’s already been in the background whilst Valtteri and I have been working in the past. I think he knows the environment well.

“But as I said, my focus right now is me and Valtteri have a job to do. I’m proud to work alongside Valtteri, he’s a decent human being and that’s at the core of the respect I have with him.

“On top of that he’s a fierce competitor, he never gives up, keeps pushing. He’s helped me deliver these championships for the team, I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 in parc ferme with George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing.
Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 in parc ferme with…
© xpbimages.com

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