George Russell on Lewis Hamilton: ‘I already knew how damn fast he is’

George Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas at the start of 2022, as Mercedes believed the Brit had gained the required experience with Williams.

Not many people knew what to expect from the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and his new teammate George Russell at the start of the season, with the seven-time world champion sharing some contrasting relationships over the years.

Hamilton’s most recent teammate Valtteri Bottas shared the friendliest relationship with the 37-year-old, with the Finn often happy to play the wingman role after it became apparent that he would not be able to challenge Hamilton for the championship.

At the other end of scale is Nico Rosberg, who ended up sharing a hostile relationship with Hamilton despite the pair being childhood friends.

The German was a very talented driver on his day and was more than capable of challenging Hamilton on the racetrack for victories and championships, which is where the relationship broke down with a number of collisions and incidents.

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George Russell was tipped to go down more of the Rosberg route when paired with Hamilton in 2022, as the former Williams driver was clearly seen as the future of the Silver Arrows by team principal Toto Wolff and has the potential to become a future world champion.

As it turned out the W13 was nowhere near competitive enough for either driver to battle for championship victories, meaning that there were no flash points between the pair on track while fighting for a win.

Mercedes only win of the season came in Brazil where Russell led the team to a one-two finish and has since described his relationship with Hamilton as one of great respect.

“The relationship has been harmonious,” he told Mercedes’ official website.

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“What impressed me the most with Lewis is seeing how he works with the team, how he gets the most out of the people around him, how he continues to keep morale high when moments are tough and ultimately what I already knew is how damn fast he is and how much of a challenge it is being teammates with a guy like him.”

Should Mercedes be able to provide their drivers with a more competitive car in 2023, the team could have a situation to manage as with only a few years left in his career, Hamilton will not want to sit back and watch his younger teammate beat him to championship glory.

On the other hand, having tasted victory in Brazil, Russell will not want to have to wait his turn, as he feels that he is able to better his teammate in the present, as proved by his superior finishing position in the 2022 drivers’ championship.