George Russell reveals how Lewis Hamilton stopped people from blaming him

George Russell became just the third team-mate of Lewis Hamilton's to beat him in the Drivers' Championship last year.

George Russell has certainly done extremely well since having made the switch from Williams to Mercedes, with the 25-year-old having not been fazed at all with being in the same garage as Lewis Hamilton.

In fact, Russell believes it’s been a “golden opportunity” to partner the seven-time World Champion, especially at a time where Mercedes are struggling for performance.

Russell has somewhat gone under the radar since joining Mercedes in 2022, with Hamilton having faced the bulk of the questions in regard to the Silver Arrows’ struggles.

Had Hamilton not been at Mercedes, then Russell would’ve been forced into answering difficult questions, at a time when he was attempting to settle into the team, whilst he also may have faced the blame for the German’s woes.

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By having the 38-year-old alongside him, Russell has been able to just get on with his driving, something which has seen him thrive.

Russell became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s last season to beat him in the Drivers’ Championship, something which highlights his talent.

With all of that in mind, Russell believes partnering Hamilton has “saved” him, given that he wasn’t under any pressure last season because of who his team-mate is.

“For me, being team-mates with Lewis is such a golden opportunity,” Russell told square mile.

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“Especially now that the car isn’t performing as we want.

“Having him as my team-mate has saved me in some regard, because if he had retired or left the sport when I joined the team, and we took this step backwards, people would be pointing the blame towards me!

“But I feel like now I’ve proven my worth and I’ve proven what I’m capable of, so there’s no pressure in that regard. I’m out there to do the best job possible and I think that is a very fortunate position to be in.”

Things have certainly changed this season given that Russell beat Hamilton last year, with the former Williams driver perhaps being under an element of pressure to replicate his 2022 performance.

READ: Will Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen ‘hate each other’ at Imola?

Replicating his results last season or trying to match his team-mate, though, isn’t something that Russell is “worried” about, with him instead choosing to embrace his partnership with the 103-time race winner.

“I’m not worried about any statistics or making sure that I’m on Lewis’s pace or whatever because I feel like I showed that last year,” Russell said.

“What a position to be in to go up against the greatest ever.”