After months of speculation, Russell was finally announced as Valtteri Bottas’ replacement for next year on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Russell revealed that he will ‘definitely go in on level terms’ with Hamilton when he moves up to Mercedes.

“Definitely going on level terms and that was made very clear to me,” he said. “I think Mercedes are always respectful in that regard to give both drivers the best opportunity. Naturally, I believe in myself and I have high aspirations but equally, I just know how tough it’s going to be.

“As I said, Lewis is a seven-time champion for a reason and I think I am in one of the most fortunate positions on the grid to be able to go out there and learn from him. For myself, I see this partnership with Mercedes as a long term thing and I guess I need to use next year as a real opportunity to learn everything I can and take it race by race and just see how I get on but I’ve got no initial thoughts really.”

Russell expects the racing to be “hard” with Hamilton but remains confident the pair’s relationship will remain intact, in the interests of the team.

“Throughout my junior career, there were a number of drivers who I was very close with on pace and very often very close with on track,” Russell added. “There’s no reason why there would be any falling outs or anything. I am sure we’re going to race each other respectfully but hard as well at the same time as Lewis and Valtteri have over the past five years.

“As I said, I think Lewis and I have got a really great relationship, we’re at different stages of our careers and we’ve got one goal next year which is to develop the car and push it forward, and make sure that we as two drivers give ourselves the best chance of having the fastest race car and the only way we’re going to do that is by working together to develop that.”