Lewis Hamilton has said George Russell has slotted into life at Mercedes “like a glove”, and knows he’s going to be facing a “strong competitor” on the other side of the garage.
The seven-time World Champion has been complimentary about his new team-mate since his arrival was confirmed last season, and has previously said he hopes to help him in his career by sharing some of his experience with the 24-year-old.
Debate is already taking place within some quarters of the Formula 1 world about how Russell will fare against his illustrious colleague, with Russell’s predecessor at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas saying he cannot see anyone beating Hamilton in equal packages in the near future, while former race winner Ralf Schumacher has gone the other way, saying he believes Russell can be right on his compatriot’s pace from the beginning of the year.
Hamilton has had several different kinds of relationships with his former team-mates, but his partnership with Russell is set to be the first of his career in the ‘master-and-apprentice’ mould with his younger colleague – at least to begin with – and he said he’s looking forward to helping the former Williams driver at the team.
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“Of course, he’s had an amazing run getting to Formula 1 and he was already a part of our team so I’ve seen him around engineering, in the simulator and obviously at Williams,” Hamilton said, as per Sky Sports.
“So he fits in and fits the position like a glove and so far it’s great.
“I honestly think I’ve learned a lot over the years of how to engage with your team-mate, how you work with a team to help them achieve the ultimate goal.
“I’m excited to engage with him, to collaborate with him. Hopefully our driving styles aren’t too dissimilar.”
Hamilton began life in Formula 1 as team-mate to the reigning World Champion in Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007, while he also raced at the team when Jenson Button arrived after he won his title with Brawn.
With that knowledge, then, the 37-year-old said he can understand life from Russell’s point of view after making the step up.
“I know the position he’s in, being up against a World Champion,” Hamilton explained. “I know the pressures that come with it, the expectations and the internal feelings of what that’s like.
“I want him to learn as much as he can and grow as much as he can and I have no doubts he’s going to be a strong competitor.”
Ralf tips Russell to beat Hamiton, Bottas says no
Ralf Schumacher believes that George Russell will be able to beat Lewis Hamilton but Valtteri Bottas isn't so sure.