Russell joining Mercedes could be an ‘advantage’ for Red Bull

An intra-team battle at Mercedes between Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell could benefit Red Bull in 2022.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has said that it would be beneficial for the team if George Russell were to push Sir Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year.

Russell has been promoted to the Mercedes seat to replace the outgoing Valtteri Bottas, who is off to Alfa Romeo. It is a move that now means three of Mercedes’ last five signings have come from Williams.

Russell managed his first F1 points at the Hungarian Grand Prix in the summer, before taking a podium finish at the farcical Belgian Grand Prix after the summer break.

He out-qualified team-mates Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi 57 times in 59 races, and impressed many in the F1 paddock when he drove Hamilton’s Mercedes in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

Dr Marko reckons that if Russell can compete with and take wins away from Hamilton, this can only be a positive for Red Bull.

“I first have to see how fast Russell really is,” Dr Marko said in an interview with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

READ: ’10 plus 1′: Wolff admits Mercedes ‘robbed’ Bottas of victory

Russell, Hamilton and Verstappen on the 2021 Belgium GP podium.v1

Continuing, he commented on Russell’s strong qualifying pace, but was left largely unimpressed by his Sunday performances.

“In qualifying, he was fast last season. But in the races, he was hardly superior to Nicholas Latifi. So we have to wait and see how fast he will be in the race. If he can indeed match Hamilton’s speed, that could be an advantage for us.”

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23-year-old Russell is full of confidence after three successful years of development at Williams, and he says he is “ready” to compete for a title.

“I feel ready to fight for World Championships and win races. I would have loved to come into Formula 1 and be fighting for victories from my very first race.”

The 2018 Formula 2 champion also reckons that the learning curve while racing at the back could come in handy in the future.

“Perhaps I’ll look back in 10 or 15 years and say this experience at the back end of the field has paid dividends for me in the long run. Next year I’ll be giving it everything I’ve got.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has weighed in on the possibility of Russell challenging Hamilton, and is relishing the prospect of having both of his drivers fighting for the title once more.

“[It] could also happen in the first year and would be a luxury problem we would then have to solve”.

2022 will be Russell’s fourth year in F1, with the Brit having spent the last three campaigns racing with Williams.

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