And separately, ex-F1 driver Christijan Albers has said he believes Russell shattered Sir Hamilton’s plan to negotiate a pay rise with the Mercedes F1 Team and maintain the high ground in negotiations.
Speaking on the De Telegraaf newspaper’s F1 podcast, Albers explained that the young Brit’s strong performance in the Mercedes W11 in Bahrain has given the Silver Arrows a clear alternative to Sir Hamilton should the seven-time World Champion decide not to yield.
“Lewis thought that it would all work out, that he would become world champion and he could therefore increase the pressure for a higher salary,” Albers said.
“What he didn’t realise was that he would get COVID-19 and George Russell would get in the car and actually shatter his whole plan, literally and figuratively.
“Just explain to the CEO of Daimler, one of the biggest manufacturers in the world, why Lewis Hamilton is so special when he sees a George Russell actually pushed in and crushed in a bathtub that he doesn’t fit in at all. We all know he would actually win the race,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dutch F1 journalist Erik van Haren said Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, and Ineos, which recently purchased a third of the Mercedes F1 Team, are “diametrically opposed to each other” with regards to the Hamilton contract saga.
“What I understand is that Lewis Hamilton would like to sign a new contract, but on his terms. He would like to sign for 2 or 3 years, it’s a multi-year deal. And of course he already has a high salary now and he wants something on top of that,” van Haren said.
“And at Mercedes, of course, you also see a big development, undergoing a reorganisation with Ineos stepping in, and that Ola Kallenius, the big man at Daimler, says ‘yes, up to here and no further. We can’t go much further than this.’
“Those two parties are diametrically opposed to each other,” he added.