Russell not at Mercedes to steal Hamilton’s crown

Henry Valantine
George Russell alongside Lewis Hamilton. Bahrain March 2022.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton pose for the all-grid photo in Bahrain. March 2022.

George Russell has said he’s willing to sacrifice short-term success for a better career in the long term, and doesn’t feel like he’s at the team to steal Lewis Hamilton’s “crown”.

The new Mercedes driver is aware of the potential for a narrative to be spun around his and the seven-time World Champion’s dynamic within the team, with Mika Hakkinen predicting that Hamilton could become “irritated” if the environment is not ripe for teamwork at the Silver Arrows.

Russell instead wants to look at the bigger picture, in that if he is to realise his dream of winning a title, he will have to beat Hamilton in order to do so – but says the two get on well.

“The fact is, Lewis and I have a good relationship,” Russell told GQ Magazine.

“They’ll twist my words slightly to blurb a headline, such as me trying to take Lewis’ crown away or whatever. But I don’t feel like that. I’m in F1 because I want to be World Champion, that’s obvious. And if I’m going to be World Champion, I’ve got to beat everyone – Lewis included.”

Team boss Toto Wolff compared the two as having a master-and-apprentice style relationship in the short term, and Russell explained that he’s willing to play the long game, if it means him being able to go on and achieve great things in Formula 1.

Given his time at a struggling Williams team yielded little in terms of points, he added that feels the need to prove himself and show why Mercedes put their faith in him.

“I want to win… obviously,” he said. “I want to win today. But you give me the choice of winning today and having an average future, or learning today and then 10 years of success – it’s an easy choice.

 

“People ask me ‘what’s your goal this year?’ and I never say ‘to be World Champion’. That’s obvious.

“How are you going to be World Champion? You’ve got to work on the process. I’m an F1 driver who’s only scored 20 points in his career from 60 races.

“Just because I’ve signed with statistically the greatest team of all time, today that doesn’t mean anything.

“I’m going up against the greatest driver of all time – I need to show and prove to people that they signed me for a reason.”

 

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Russell not at Mercedes to steal Hamilton’s crown

George Russell has stated that he isn't at Mercedes to steal Lewis Hamilton's crown.