Lewis Hamilton is a “fine wine”, one that only gets “better with age” says his potential 2022 Mercedes team-mate, George Russell.
Last week, Mercedes announced 36-year-old Hamilton had signed a new two-year deal, one that will keep him at the Brackley squad until the end of the 2023 season.
The announcement, despite taking away one of the two Mercedes seats Russell wants, has been welcomed by the Williams driver.
“I’m really pleased to see Lewis staying in the sport. He’s obviously a worldwide superstar and still performing at an exceptional level,” Russell told Autosport.
“I guess he’s like a fine wine, he keeps getting better with age.”
The Mercedes protégé has backed Hamilton to continue his fight for an eighth F1 World Championship despite trailing Max Verstappen in the title fight.
Hamilton last won a grand prix in May, at the Spanish Grand Prix. Red Bull have since gone on to win five in a row, Verstappen taking four of those.
Russell added: “Max [Verstappen] and Red Bull seem very strong, but I’m sure Lewis will be pushing the whole way.
“As I say, I just think it’s really great for F1 to have a guy like Lewis staying.”
But is it good for Russell?
Next season the Briton could, at least according to speculation from the paddock, find himself up against Hamilton as his team-mate at Mercedes.
Russell says he is up for the fight.
“For me personally, I want to compete against the best people in the world, which I think, to be honest, on the grid right now, we’ve a very good group of drivers who deserve to be here,” he said.
As for his future, Russell, like the rest of us, is waiting for the announcement that he will be heading to Mercedes next season – or the one that says he will not be.
In the meantime, all the 23-year-old can do is give his best out on the track with Williams.
“I’m really not pressurising anyone because I just want to do the talking on the track and just focus on the circuit, because I know if I do the job on the track everything will sort itself out,” Russell said.
“Mercedes know me so well throughout all the years and I’m in contact with them daily, as it has been for the last three years.
“They will get it done when they believe it’s the right time, whichever way they decide to go.”