In a season of pain and struggle for Mercedes, George Russell was still a bright spark for the team, picking up the Silver Arrows’ only win of the season in Brazil.
Almost ever-present in the top five, Russell accomplished the impressive feat of outscoring his seven-time world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton in his first season with the team.
While Hamilton did sacrifice a reasonable about of the season to allow Mercedes to experiment with his car, Russell’s performances over the course of the season still meant that he outscored his teammate on merit.
With Mercedes expected to be much more competitive this season, fans have begun to fear that the team could harbour yet another toxic driver pairing, similar to when Nico Rosberg was with the team.
Hamilton famously struggles to maintain a relationship with a teammate when they begin to challenge him for the championship, hence why his partnership with Valtteri Bottas was so harmonious, as the Finn was happy to be a wingman.
Russell has now suggested that his relationship with Hamilton could change next season, but he hopes that their experiences last year will help them maintain a healthy pairing.
“I mean, if you are fighting for one-twos there will be a slightly different dynamic and that’s only natural,” he said via The Mirror.
“But I think the thing we have going for us is the fact that we are at very different stages of our career.
“It kind of feels like we are in this together, really. If we’ve got a car that’s capable of one-two finishes, we will have a huge amount of pride in thinking we have contributed together in helping the team achieve this. And then we go about our business.
“But we’ve got no reason to have conflict. We have got a god relationship.”
Any potential tension between the two Mercedes drivers this year will not be helped by the fact that Hamilton is running out of time to win a record breaking eighth championship.
With the Brit recently turning 38, he has significantly less time that Russell to return to winning ways, meaning he will hope to keep his teammate behind him for at least a season before handing over the reins to Russell.