Alex Albon believes that, if George Russell were to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton, he could take the fight to the seven-time World Champion.
After he impressed standing in for Hamilton in Bahrain last year, calls grew for Russell to be given a Mercedes seat sooner rather than later.
While he ultimately stayed with Williams for 2021, it’s looking likely that he’ll drive for the German team next season, with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both out of contract.
Should he replace Bottas and be team-mates with Hamilton, Albon is confident that he can make life hard for the 36-year-old.
“There has been a lot of talk over the winter about Lewis Hamilton potentially winning his eighth title,” the Thai driver said in his GQ column.
“People are surprised he’s only signed a one-year deal at Mercedes, but I don’t read too much into contract talk and speculation.
“He will be highly motivated and Red Bull plan to bring the fight this year, which is going to make it harder, for sure. Only he knows if this will be his last season in F1.
“It’s my view that if my friend George Russell was to partner Lewis at Mercedes next year he could really challenge him.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 29, 2021
Albon himself is the test and reserve driver for Red Bull and AlphaTauri this season.
Some expected that, if Red Bull decided to drop him last year, he’d end up driving for the sister team in 2021, but ultimately, they gave the seat to Yuki Tsunoda instead.
The Japanese driver impressed in his first race, scoring two points, and Albon can see him enjoying a good rookie year but struggling to get the better of his team-mate.
“I think the midfield will be very strong and tight this year. The standouts there have been AlphaTauri and McLaren, who are also looking good,” Albon added.
“Yuki Tsunoda had a very good year in F2 last season, the AlphaTauri is a really nice car to drive, very forgiving, and the guys at the team in Firenze are great.
“He looks comfortable, but he doesn’t have the experience of his teammate, Pierre Gasly.”
Alongside being Red Bull’s test and reserve driver, Albon will also be driving in DTM in 2021, partnering Liam Lawson at Italian outfit AF Corse.