Following an impressive three-year stint in uncompetitive Williams machinery, Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes for 2022, becoming teammates with seven-time world F1 champion Hamilton. 

While Mercedes team principal Wolff fully expects Russell to prove himself and challenge Hamilton in his first season with Mercedes, he has warned his young star he cannot cross the line when racing wheel-to-wheel with his future teammate. 

“George Russell is another intelligent young man,” Wolff told the Daily Mail. “He will slot into the team but that doesn’t mean he has to hold back when driving. You can’t expect a lion in the car and a puppy out of it.

“But there are certain boundaries within the team that must be respected and George knows them very well. Once the lights are green, only the drivers are responsible. 

“I can’t interfere, manage or remote control them, but one thing is of ultimate importance - don’t touch. That’s your responsibility. You can race hard, but no contact.” 

Wolff has made the ground rules clear to Russell ahead of his arrival in a bid to avoid a repeat of the fraught relationship between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg as they went head-to-head for three consecutive world titles between 2014 and 2016. 

Since Rosberg retired from F1 at the end of his title-winning campaign in 2016, Mercedes has enjoyed five years of harmony with Bottas paired alongside Hamilton. 

“I’ve been there before with Nico when it wasn’t just a rivalry,” Wolff added. “There was a lot of animosity and that’s not going to happen.

“This is about showing respect for each other and it can be hard because if you race on the same spot on the race track you will eventually come across each other - but there is an integrity we expect that no one is ever bigger than the team.”