George Russell has revealed that he’d choose Max Verstappen as his next team-mate at Mercedes, when Lewis Hamilton does eventually retire.
That won’t be happening until the end of 2025 at the earliest, with the Silver Arrows having announced ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix that Russell and Hamilton will be remaining with the team for the next two years.
It means that the earliest Russell will have a new partner is 2026, when the new power unit regulations are introduced.
Thinking ahead to when his seven-time World Champion team-mate does eventually call it a day, he’s admitted that he wants the very best at the moment to replace him.
Russell wants to partner Verstappen so that he can continue to “go against the best”, something he’s gotten used to alongside Hamilton.
The former Williams driver famously finished ahead of Hamilton last season in the Drivers’ Championship, making him just the third team-mate of the 38-year-old’s to have done so.
It’s looking increasingly unlikely that Russell will repeat his 2022 heroics, with Hamilton sitting 57 points ahead after 13 races.
Verstappen moving to Mercedes is also extremely unlikely to happen, not only because it’d mean joining Red Bull’s rivals, but because he’s contracted until the end of 2028.
Nevertheless, the King’s Lynn-born driver is eager to see how himself and Verstappen would “get on” alongside one another.
“Lewis is not going to race forever. If you could pick your next teammate, who would you pick? And why?” Russell was asked by Canal+.
He answered: “I’d pick Max. Because when I joined Mercedes to be teammates with Lewis, Lewis was and is regarded as the best driver of all time.
“You want to go against the best, test yourself against the best, learn from the best.
“For me, having these 18 months alongside Lewis has been really, really great to push my boundaries, to learn more about myself as a driver and as an individual.
“And obviously Max is at the top of his game, right now. Destroying Formula 1. So we’d all want to go against Max, and see how we get on.”