Lewis Hamilton makes George Russell admission as he discusses ‘equilibrium’

George Russell joined Mercedes from Williams at the start of 2022, replacing Lewis Hamilton’s loyal wingman Valtteri Bottas.

Despite clearly being a confident individual, George Russell would never have expected to walk into Mercedes and beat seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in his debut season.

The former Williams driver flew out the blocks in 2022 with a struggling Mercedes, picking up a flurry of podium finishes and consistently finishing in the top five.

Hamilton has claimed that he was more experimental with his car in the early stages of the season, often sacrificing his own results to help the team get to the bottom of their lack of performance, offering this as an explanation for the gap between himself and his teammate.

The seven-time world champion has been quick to shut down any suggestions that Mercedes could be in for a repeat of his relationship with Nico Rosberg, should himself and Russell be fighting for the championship next season, praising his teammate for his impressive start to life with the Silver Arrows.

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“I’ve seen what he did at Williams,” said Hamilton.

“I think naturally you have to say it’s impressive what he’s done this year, the consistency he’s had, how he’s arrived and just hit the ground running.

“It’s not like he arrived in a completely brand-new team. The previous couple of years he was sitting right behind me watching the work I was doing with the engineers, with Riki [Riccardo Musconi], who is now his number one.

“It’s been super easy to blend in. He uses my steering wheel, he’s obviously got to do the test days prior to the year, so I think he’s just blended in perfectly and he’s been a positive force in the team.

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“He’s helped keep the equilibrium in the team, in terms of the working relationship I think it’s strong.”

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Toto Wolff has described Hamilton and Russell’s relationship as ‘respectful’, suggesting that sparks could fly should a title battle heat up between the pair.

The Mercedes team principal has claimed that he is glad that both of his drivers have a fiery competitiveness about them, as this is a key ingredient of a title winning Formula 1 driver.

The Austrian has also confirmed that Hamilton will receive no special treatment in 2023 in his hunt for an eighth world title, which will come as music to the ears of Russell who will have title ambitions of his own following a strong start to life at Mercedes.