Mercedes put an finish to months of hypothesis by saying on Tuesday that Russell can be becoming a member of its works F1 staff subsequent yr, changing Valtteri Bottas after spending three seasons with Williams.
Russell has been a member of Mercedes’ younger driver programme since 2017, and deputised for Hamilton finally yr’s Sakhir Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion was dominated out by COVID-19.
The transfer will present Russell the primary likelihood of his F1 profession to commonly combat on the entrance of the sector, with many anticipating there to be an in depth combat in opposition to Hamilton, a driver 13 years his senior.
However Russell will not be becoming a member of Mercedes anticipating to play a quantity two position to Hamilton, saying that he can be “undoubtedly happening stage phrases” subsequent yr.
“That was made very clear to me,” Russell mentioned.
“I believe Mercedes are at all times respectful in that regard, to offer each drivers the most effective alternative.
“Naturally I imagine in myself, and I’ve excessive aspirations. However equally I do know simply how powerful it’ll be.
“Lewis is a seven-time world champion for a cause, and I believe I’m in most likely some of the lucky positions on the grid to have the ability to go on the market and be taught from him.
“For myself, I see this partnership with Mercedes as a long-term factor, and I assume I want to make use of subsequent yr as an actual alternative to be taught, and take it race by race, and simply see how I get on.
“However I’ve acquired no preliminary ideas actually.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, George Russell, Williams FW43B
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Mercedes has at all times given its F1 drivers equal alternatives throughout the staff, and has solely carried out staff orders when one driver seems firmly out of the title race, seen most clearly on the 2018 Russian Grand Prix when Bottas moved apart to let Hamilton win the race.
Hamilton’s former team-mate, Nico Rosberg, not too long ago mentioned Russell arriving may make the ambiance in Mercedes “extra heated”, whereas Max Verstappen felt Russell would make life “very tough” for Hamilton.
Russell was assured there can be no repeat of any intra-team points at Mercedes upon his arrival, and that the staff had realized from earlier experiences.
“I believe Mercedes have had clear expertise of a poor dynamic throughout the staff, they usually’ve made it completely clear that they don’t need a repeat,” Russell mentioned.
“On a private stage as effectively, I don’t need that both. I believe it’s so vital as team-mates to work collectively, to push the staff.
“Subsequent yr it’s a brand new automotive and new rules. There’s no ensures who’s going to have the quickest automotive. I assume it’s our job as drivers to push that ahead.
“I would say as effectively, Lewis and I are at very totally different levels of our profession, which I believe additionally helps, and I’ve an enormous quantity of respect for him, I believe being a lot youthful and searching as much as him as a younger karting driver modifications that dynamic loads too.
“I don’t see there being any points in any respect.”