Jenson Button fires George Russell warning about Lewis Hamilton comparison

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

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button has warned Mercedes star George Russell that he must show what he’s capable of this season, with the 25-year-old no longer having the luxury of it being his first season with Mercedes.

Russell performed incredibly well last season, with the British driver having settled into Mercedes superbly.

He was responsible, of course, for the team’s only pole position and victory in 2022, whilst he also became just the third team-mate of Lewis Hamilton’s to beat him in the Drivers’ Championship.

Given that it was his first year with Mercedes, though, the Silver Arrows often used Hamilton to test various setups, whilst Russell was given a base package to just extract the best from.

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It meant Hamilton’s pace was much more inconsistent during race weekends, given that he was often running a different set-up for each session.

With the comfort of being given a year to settle in having now passed, Russell will likely be used as well to test various setups, meaning he’ll perhaps have less time to put in the crucial lap-times.

How he’ll react to this will be discovered across the opening few rounds of the forthcoming season, with Button being excited to see how Russell will get on this season alongside Hamilton, given that “nobody” expected him to beat the 38-year-old last year.

“I think it’s a great fight,” Button told the Telegraph.

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“You know, they’re both so talented. One has obviously got more world championships than anyone else. But George, you know, he’s just great, he really is, in terms of his driving, in terms of his engineering skills. I think he’s a great talent.

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“First year, it’s easy because there’s no real pressure on your shoulders. Nobody expects you to beat Lewis Hamilton.

“But second year in, it’s like, ‘Now we’re going to see what you can do’. So I’m looking forward to watching that. They’re both hopefully going to be fighting for wins.”

Based on pre-season testing, the likelihood is that Mercedes won’t be battling for the win at this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, putting further emphasis on Russell and Hamilton extracting whatever they can from the W14.

Russell was often praised last season for claiming better results than realistically possible in the ‘diva’ W13, something he’ll have to prove this year that he can do in the W14.