George Russell makes bold prediction as Lewis Hamilton nears new Mercedes deal

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton congratulates Mercedes team-mate George Russell at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku, May 2023.

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Mercedes team-mate George Russell at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

George Russell has warned that Lewis Hamilton will remain in Formula 1 “for years to come” as his Mercedes team-mate edges closer to agreeing a contract extension.

Mercedes’ limp start to the 2023 season raised doubts over the future of Hamilton, who has won six of his seven World Championships with the team he first joined from McLaren a decade ago.

With his existing deal set to expire at the end of this year, reports in recent weeks linked Hamilton with a big-money move to Ferrari for 2024, but it now appears increasingly likely that the 38-year-old will extend his stay at Mercedes.

Russell, who joined Mercedes as Hamilton’s team-mate at the beginning of 2022, has backed the most successful driver in the sport’s history to keep defying time and stick around for some years yet.

Ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, he told Sky Sports F1: “You’ve only got to look at his skin – he looks like a 25-year-old! I think I’ve got a few more wrinkles than he has.

“I think there’s many years left in Lewis and I guess he’s at a stage now in his career that as long as he keeps on enjoying racing and he sees a chance to win, then why wouldn’t you continue? We both believe in this team.

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“He’s still performing at a really strong level and we’re pushing one another. And it’s an exciting time for the sport, so he’ll be here for years to come.”

After introducing a heavily revised package in Monaco, Mercedes enjoyed their most convincing performance of the season at the last race in Barcelona as the team got two cars on the podium to overtake Aston Martin in the fight for second spot in the Constructors’ standings.

Russell says the team are buoyed by their Spanish GP showing, but fears a number of factors may count against a repeat performance in Montreal.

He explained: “It’s a really different circuit.

“Barcelona, with the new changes, is all medium/high-speed corners. In Montreal, it’s all slow-speed corners.

“Barcelona has a very smooth Tarmac. Here, it’s very bumpy, we’re hitting all the kerbs, it’s a street track.

“And finally, in Barcelona we had the three hardest tyres and, here we have the three softest tyres.

“So there’s no guarantees that we’re going to be competitive – or as competitive as we were in Barcelona. At best, I expect it to be quite close with us, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

“But the spirits are good, we feel like we’re in a good place, things are going in the right direction. And mixed conditions, so no reason why we can’t have a good weekend.”