George Russell claims Toto Wolff has more respect for Lewis Hamilton

George Russell joined Mercedes at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, partnering seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell has revealed that he views Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff as both a “friend” and as his boss, considering that he was signed by the Austrian when he was 16 years old.

Wolff was quick to sign Russell when he was just a teenager, in a bid to ensure that his future was with Mercedes.

The Mercedes boss “nurtured” the 25-year-old in his final few seasons in junior racing, before supporting his move to Williams in 2019.

Even when at Williams, Russell continued to receive support from Wolff, with it having become clear very quickly that the big plan was to one day get the King’s Lynn-born driver into the Mercedes outfit.

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That finally happened in 2022, when Russell was promoted from Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas.

Russell was very much the baby in the team last season and in many ways still is, considering that he’s alongside Lewis Hamilton.

In fact, Hamilton was at Mercedes even before Wolff replaced Ross Brawn as team principal in 2013, something which makes Russell think the Austrian automatically has “more respect” towards the seven-time World Champion.

Whilst Russell isn’t sure how his relationship with Wolff differs to Hamilton’s, he does note that Wolff was the newbie back in 2013, whilst Hamilton was already a “massive name”

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“I’m not too sure to be honest,” Russell told the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“When Lewis and Toto were acquainted, Lewis was already World Champion, this megastar.

“There was perhaps more respect from Toto to Lewis when he joined because Toto was completely new to Formula 1.

“At the time, Toto was the rookie and Lewis was the household, massive name, whereas with myself, Toto signed me as a 16-year-old.”

It’s not just Russell who gets on well with Wolff, as his partner Carmen Mundt, also gets on with the Austrian.

In fact, Russell and Mundt are close with both Wolff and his wife Susie, with Russell revealing that they’re often “doing activities together”.

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“They’ve always nurtured me along the way, advised me and helped me reach my full potential and our relationship has gone from – I am not going to say a paternal figure – but I would class ourselves more as friends now,” Russell added.

“Also with Susie [Wolff] and Carmen [Mundt], my girlfriend, we have a really great relationship, we spend a lot of time together doing activities together, dinner together, we see them all the time.

“So you know, he’s my boss, but he’s also a friend.”