George Russell comments on ‘good relationship’ with Lewis Hamilton breaking down

George Russell became just the third team-mate of Lewis Hamilton's to beat him in the Drivers' Championship, after a stellar maiden season for Mercedes.

George Russell has remained adamant that a rivalry will not develop between himself and Lewis Hamilton should they battle for the title in the forthcoming season, with the British driver recognising that a potential feud could “hurt” the Brackley-based team.

Russell and Hamilton worked together well last season, as Mercedes tried to make the most of what was a disappointing campaign.

Their positive relationship was on view after Russell claimed victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Hamilton having been delighted for the former Williams driver despite having missed out on the win himself.

With this in mind, Russell explained why his partnership with Hamilton works so well and interestingly, why he believes Hamilton had a rivalry with Nico Rosberg.

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“Lewis and I, it worked because we know we’re moving the team forward together rather than against each other,” Russell told Auto Motor Und Sport.

“If there were problems with driver pairings in the past, it was perhaps also because the age difference was smaller, and there was a fight for supremacy in the team. We don’t have that.

“If the good relationship with Lewis were to break down, it wouldn’t do the team any good and hurt ourselves over time.”

The queries over the Mercedes duo’s future relationship are due to the expectation that a rivalry might form, especially if Russell beats the seven-time World Champion for a second consecutive year.

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Russell became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the standings last season; however, it’s not something the 24-year-old particularly cares about.

“For me, this victory in Brazil was more important than the points classification,” he said.

“At the end of the day, nobody remembers that I beat Lewis on points. I only finished fourth, so no man’s land.

“If someone had offered me a win, a pole position and eight podiums a year ago, I would have said: No, thank you. My aspirations and those of the team are much higher than what we have achieved.”

The British driver is confident that the team will be “faster” in the forthcoming season after a woeful 2022; however, he’s unsure if the team’s improvements will be enough to move ahead of Ferrari or Red Bull, given that they too have likely improved.

Regardless of Mercedes’ positioning and how close the teams are in terms of performance, Russell knows that he’s “ready to fight” for the title, if given the car to do so.

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“We know we’re building a car that will be faster than last year’s car,” Russell said.

“I am also sure that we will improve compared to last year. But we don’t know what everyone else has done. And that’s the problem. It’s a relative game.

“I feel ready to fight for the championship.”