Lewis Hamilton sees no reason why George Russell can’t one day be Mercedes’ team leader, he just doesn’t know if he’ll still be racing alongside him when that time comes.
Hamilton and Russell are arguably one of the strongest, if not the strongest, line-up on the 2022 grid.
Although both drivers have equal status, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff insisting they have the freedom to race one another, Hamilton with his seven World titles and 10 years with Mercedes makes him a team leader.
It is a position that Russell has made clear he is happy to concede to the seven-time World Champion.
“Lewis has been here so long,” he told Sky F1 back in April. “I’m the new kid at the team.
“I’m not going to go out there trying to be the leader of the team when I’m going up against the greatest of all time who’s been here for 10 years. He’s like the captain of the team and that’s how it should be.”
However, worked alongside Russell for the past six months, Hamilton says the 24-year-old has all the notches needed to one day take over as Mercedes lead driver.
Hammer Time 😁😜 pic.twitter.com/q4FeO70Iyl
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 7, 2022
“I definitely see he has got so much potential in him and he is in the right place for it as well,” Hamilton said as per GPFans.
“I really think that whether or not I am here, he has all the qualities to help take this team forwards into the future and lead them to success so I think it has been the right choice by the team.
“I hope that I can be a part of helping him progress.”
The team-mates arrived at the Red Bull Ring for round 11, the Austrian Grand Prix, still chasing Mercedes’ first win of the championship.
Their best results have been a spate of P3s with back-to-back podiums in Canada and Silverstone seeing Hamilton close to within 11 points of Russell after the former Williams driver’s run of top-five results ended with a DNF at the British Grand Prix.
Speaking of their working relationship, Hamilton said: “I wouldn’t say it has been tough. It has been pleasant.
“We have worked together incredibly well and George has been super-positive, had a positive impact on the working environment and it has genuinely been a real pleasure to work with him.
“It has been great to see his success. He has done such a great job, he has got great points for the team and is continuing to improve and it is going to continue to improve for a long time.”