Sir Lewis Hamilton has said he would like to see George Russell become a World Champion in Formula 1 at some point in the future.
Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes next year to partner the seven-time World Champion – and many in the paddock believe the young Brit will give Hamilton a run for his money in equal machinery.
Bottas, meanwhile, will join Alfa Romeo, where he will partner Guanyu Zhou.
In an interview with the BBC, Hamilton described his incoming team-mate as “hugely respectful” and drew parallels between Russell joining Mercedes and him partnering Fernando Alonso at McLaren in his debut F1 season in 2007.
“You’ve seen George is hugely respectful,” said Hamilton.
“He’s a super-talented young man and I think there’s a huge amount of respect already going in and we’ve got a nice balance at the moment.
“But he’s going to want to be quick, he’s going to want to show up and win, and do all those things that you do when you enter a new role.
“I remember in 2007 when I went up against [Fernando] Alonso. Of course I wanted to beat him at the first race, so I appreciate and expect George to have that mentality, otherwise he’s not a winner, you know?”
Hamilton added that he wants Russell to succeed, and he will one day want him to win an F1 title.
“But I’m in a different place. I really want to see him succeed,” the Mercedes driver said.
“There’s going to be a point where I don’t continue in this sport and, you know, he’s my team-mate and he’s gonna be the next Brit that I want to see win a world championship.
“So while we are going to be competing and I want to win on track, I really hope I can have a positive influence on how he conducts himself within the team, whether it’s the time he commits to engineering or how he churns through the data or even just how he drives on track.”
Hamilton is currently chasing an eighth F1 Championship.
With just two rounds of the 2021 season remaining, he trails Max Verstappen by eight points – a gap that is far from insurmountable, especially when the recent pace of Hamilton’s Mercedes is taken into consideration.