- Russell is excited to race with Hamilton as teammate says he looked up to Hamilton as a superhero in his childhood
- George Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes, and the 24-year-old will partner with Lewis Hamilton in 2022
- Hamilton and Russel will be seen racing as teammates for the first time at the Bahrain Gp on the 20th of March
- Russell stood in for Hamilton, who had contracted Covid, at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020, and he showed he was capable.
As he prepares for his first race as a full-time driver with his new team Mercedes, George Russell insists that he has no rivalry with teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The 24-year-old from King’s Lynn said he is only excited for the challenge of working with Hamilton, whom he looked up to as a “superhero” as a child.
Russell emailed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff eight years ago, eager to show off his driving skills.
He now has the opportunity to show what he can do on the track to arguably the best team on the planet.
However, Russell believes he would rather be a teammate than a rival to the seven-time world champion.
Bottas, his successor, was in the same role for four seasons.
The Finn has never won a world championship and has only pushed Hamilton on a few occasions.
The King’s Lynn driver believes he can only learn from his British teammate.
Hamilton has won multiple championships and is in his 16th season in Formula One, with seven world titles to his credit.
On the other hand, Russell is still in the early stages of his career.
He is highly regarded and expected to present Hamilton with a genuine challenge, but he sees their relationship as collaborative rather than combative.
ACCORDING TO RUSSELL, HAMILTON IS THE GREATEST DRIVER OF ALL TIME
“We are at different stages of our careers. Lewis has nothing to prove; he is statistically the greatest driver of all time.
“I think he wants me to succeed, and he truly wants to help me,” he said.
“It’s incredibly exciting that I find myself in a win-win scenario.
“You’re going up against the greatest of all time who has beaten everybody. I can only learn from him.”
While Mercedes claims that its drivers are free to compete against one another.
Russell’s task appears to be to assist Hamilton in regaining the title he narrowly lost to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the 2021 season.
During Bahrain’s official pre-season test, Mercedes was not the fastest. Even though they are up against strong opposition, Russell and Hamilton insisted on working together.
“There is really good respect between Lewis and me,” he said.
“We both recognise we need to work together to push forward because our competition isn’t with each other; it is against Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren.
“If we start battling internally, trying to be secretive about set-ups, it’s not going to benefit anybody.
“We are all here to win, and beating your teammate is not the sole goal for any of us.”
“Russell began karting at the age of eight in 2006, and Hamilton debuted in Formula One the following year.
He’s been a part of the Mercedes junior driver program since 2017, and at the end of
last season, he was signed to a race seat to replace Valtteri Bottas, a move he admits would have been difficult for him to believe when he was younger.
“It is surreal in a way, he said. When you’re a kid, you believe they are superheroes. It is funny when I look at it now that I am lining up alongside Lewis.”
RUSSELL IS ONE OF THE MOST PROMISING YOUNG F1 DRIVERS
During Russell’s three seasons with Williams, he consistently outperformed the car stuck at the back of the grid.
He was outstanding in wet conditions to finish second on the grid at Spa last year, and he did the same in qualifying for the Russian GP last year.
When he stood in for Hamilton, who had contracted Covid, at the Sakhir Grand Prix in 2020, he showed he was fully capable of stepping up to the big stage.
Russell qualified second on the grid for his first race for Mercedes at the Bahrain International Circuit.
After taking the lead, he was in complete control of the race and on his way to a win until a team pitstop error and a puncture denied him victory.
He won’t be afraid to start his full-time Mercedes career at the track where he made such an impression two years ago.
According to a key member of the team, Mercedes ‘morale was shattered when Lewis Hamilton was denied an eighth championship in controversial circumstances at last year’s season finale.