Lewis Hamilton expands on the talent of George Russell plus expands on if they are together at Mercedes, as the latter talks about knowing his F1 future.
With signs ominous now of Russell joining Mercedes for the 2022 F1 season alongside Hamilton, the world champion has opened up on the youngster as a driver and racer, whild adding on how he has been in the family already for so long.
Hamilton, in fact, had heaps of praise for Russell. “I honestly think he’ll be good,” he said in the press conference. “I think George is an incredibly talented driver, clearly. I would say probably the only highlight from last week was his qualifying lap, it was amazing. I think he’s humble, I think he’s got a great approach.
“Naturally being British I would imagine probably helps in terms of communication. At the moment naturally I have to be super-supportive of the team mate I have right now so that’s why I’m always supportive of Valtteri because we have a job to do right now. Neither of us can win the team championship alone, we have to do it collectively.
“I think Russell’s one of the members of the future of the sport. I think he’s already showing incredible driving so far and I’m sure he’s going to continue to grow so where better to do it than in a great team like this or what team he goes to,” summed up Hamilton, who was then asked about taking on Russell, a youngster on the rise.
Time and again, the question has risen that Hamilton is afraid of new competition, which is why he wants Bottas to remain in the team. The Brit, however, stated how he is in a different space right now, which is not about proving his credentials. “It’s not like I haven’t been proved myself,” he said. “I raced against some incredible drivers as team mates.
“In my rookie year I was alongside Fernando. I don’t really feel like I have anything to prove. I’m in a different place in my life. I’m excited to see the youngsters coming through – it’s not that I want to lose to a youngster, naturally, but I am excited to see the progression of the sport. I am a fan of the sport at the end of the day.
“You’ve heard me earlier on in the year talk about Lando, it’s encouraging to see these youngsters come through. They’re fierce. I see a lot of myself in this younger generation. They’re what the sport’s going to be relying on moving forwards. There’ll be things that we learn from one another,” summed up Hamilton.
The big factor and question mark is how the Hamilton and Russell pairing eventually be like. Many reckon it will end up similar to how his relation with Nico Rosberg was, which turned volatile by the end of the time in 2016. Talking about it, the world champion reckons that they are much prepared now with time, which doesn’t worry him.
Another thing his Russell’s adjustment, which Hamilton thinks will be slightly easier considering how the Brit handled himself in Bahrain. “It’s important that, naturally, respect is always there and communication will be at the core of that,” he said. “We’ve got an amazing setting at our team in terms of morale, in terms of our processes and how the team put their arms around the two drivers and that’s why we have harmony in our team.
“I think we are so much better prepared than we were in previous years so it doesn’t really worry me. When you start with someone new it takes time. Even when we have a new engineer or a new mechanics it take a moment for them to gel in. But George has already been on the circuit with us, he’s already done a race with the team, he’s already been in the background while Valtteri and I have been working in the past.
“So I think he knows the environment well. But my focus right now is me and Valtteri have a job to do and I’m proud to work alongside Valtteri. I think he’s a decent human being and I think that’s at the core of the respect I have and on top of that he’s a close competitor. He never gives up, keeps pushing and he’s helped me deliver these championships with the team. I couldn’t have done it without him,” summed up Hamilton.
Its not often for Hamilton to be so elaborate about Russell in this manner. But recent reports suggest that the Brit already knows whats to happen, where Bottas is heavily tipped to move to Alfa Romeo and replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.
Russell, meanwhile, confirmed that he was told about his future verbally at Spa-Francorchamps. “As it currently stands, I have no news to announce really,” he said in the press conference. “Same position as we were in Spa last week. Yes, I know where I’ll be driving next year. [I was told] verbally, before Spa.
“As I said, I’m not going to sit here and lie and not say the truth. The truth is: there’s nothing to announce, but, as I said, I’m aware of the situation of where I’ll be racing next year and I was informed prior to Spa, just prior to Spa,” summed up Russell.
The same press conference also saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen share his thoughts on a potential move from Russell to Mercedes alongside Hamilton, which he reckons will be interesting and make things tougher on both side of the garage.
“He jumped into the car in Bahrain, and basically he was already from lap one making it very difficult for Valtteri,” Verstappen said. “So you can only imagine the more experience you gain in that car, and the more you get accustomed within the team, naturally you’re going to be becoming faster.
“When you do your first race, you are guided by the team about set-up direction, because you just don’t know what to do really, initially, with the car. Even though of course F1 cars look pretty similar, the way of setting them up can be very different. o yeah, for sure, I’m very confident.
“Already what you could see, the performance he did in Spa was really good. Of course they set up the car a bit more for wet conditions, but nevertheless, to do that in a Williams was very impressive. I do expect him to do very well if he gets that seat.”
Here’s Toto Wolff’s clarification on decision made comment
Here’s Jost Capito on Nicholas Latifi’s retention
Here’s news from Kimi Raikkonen