Russell could ‘easily tarnish Hamilton’s reputation’ at Mercedes

Sir Lewis Hamilton has said he is looking forward to racing alongside George Russell at Mercedes, but should the seven-time world champion be worried?

Last week, at the launch of Mercedes’ 2022 car, Sir Lewis Hamilton said he is “excited” to partner George Russell at the team this upcoming season, after racing alongside Valtteri Bottas for the prior five years.

The seven-time world champion described Russell’s career thus far as “amazing” and, as for him joining the Silver Arrows, Hamilton said he “fits the position like a glove and so far it’s great.”

However, while the 37-year-old is doing his best to welcome his compatriot, the importance of Hamilton outscoring Russell this year cannot be overstated.

If Russell were to outperform the seven-time world champion in equal machinery – especially in his first year at Mercedes – he could easily tarnish Hamilton’s reputation as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula 1.

This was evidenced by some F1 fans claiming that Russell had demonstrated that Hamilton “isn’t the GOAT” when he stood in for him at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and would have won his maiden race with Mercedes had it not been for a botched pit-stop and a late slow puncture.

Indeed, it would be difficult to argue that Hamilton is the greatest driver to have ever raced Formula 1 if he gets beaten by a new team-mate and it would add a lot of weight to the argument that he has only won his seven world championships because he has had a dominant car and easy-to-beat team-mates.

Will Russell outscore Hamilton in 2022?

With Hamilton and Russell never having raced together as team-mates in any category of motorsport and with them competing at opposite ends of the F1 over the last few years, it’s difficult to judge how they will stack up against each other at Mercedes.

However, it’s important to point out that while the 24-year-old outqualified Williams team-mates Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi 57 times in 59 grand prix weekend, his race pace doesn’t appear to be quite as impressive.

So, it’s possible that Russell could follow in Bottas’ footsteps in being able to challenge Hamilton in qualifying, but more often than not fall behind on race day.

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This may or may not prove to be the case, but should Mercedes once again produce a dominant car, I hope they will be quite evenly matched so we can at least have an intra-team title battle, as we were treated to in 2016.

James Clifford is the editor of; the views expressed in this opinion/analysis article are his own and are not necessarily shared by us.