Lewis Hamilton has opened up about George Russell’s achievements in his first half-season with Mercedes – and what the future could hold.
Russell was brought in as Hamilton’s team-mate for this year in place of Valtteri Bottas and despite Mercedes having a less competitive car than in previous seasons, he has completely vindicated the decision.
Consistency has been the hallmark for the 24-year-old Briton, who has finished in the top five in 10 of the first 11 races – with the only blemish being a first-corner exit from his home grand prix due to a collision with Zhou Guanyu.
Although Hamilton shades him on the podium count 4-3, all of those seven being third-placed finishes, Russell still holds a 19-point advantage over his illustrious colleague in the Drivers’ standings.
There had been conjecture before the season began about how harmoniously the two compatriots would work together, but Hamilton’s comments about Russell indicate there are no problems on that score.
“I won’t say it’s been tough [being Russell’s team mate]. It’s been pleasant, we’ve worked together incredibly well,” said the seven-time former World Champion, quoted by Formula 1.
“George has been super-positive, had a positive impact on the work environment. It’s generally been a real pleasure to work with him and it’s been great to see his success.
“He’s done such a great job, got great points for the team and he will continue to improve for a long time.
“I definitely see he’s got so much potential in him [to be a World Champion] and he’s in the right place for it as well.
“I really think that…whether or not I’m here, he has all the qualities to help take this team forward in the future and lead them to success, so I think it’s been the right choice for the team.
“I hope I can be a little bit of a part of helping him to progress.”
Russell himself knows there are many stages he must go through before he can start even thinking about anything like the kind of success Hamilton has enjoyed – he has, of course, yet to record a first grand prix victory.
“It’s sort of like the image of the guy climbing the mountain – he thinks he’s at the top and he looks up and the peak’s miles away, and you get there and there’s another peak, and that’s kind of the way I look at it,” explained Russell, looking back to when he signed his Mercedes contract.
“There is a lot to celebrate for a moment like that. I want to be a World Champion, I want to win races and signing that contract didn’t guarantee anything.”
Where do Mercedes stand right now?
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