Formula 1 and IndyCar legend Mario Andretti says he is taking the wait-and-see approach with George Russell at Mercedes before judging his performances against Lewis Hamilton.
Russell joins Mercedes this season replacing Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate and Andretti, who, not only won the 1969 Indianapolis 500 but was also crowned Formula 1 World Champion with Colin Chapman’s Lotus team in 1978 believes that Russell has big shoes to fill this season going up against Hamilton who will be aiming to bounce back from a difficult season in 2021.
Andretti, whose son, Michael, came close to purchasing the Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Team last year believes that Russell will have to show that his performance in Bahrain with Mercedes in 2020 was not just a one-off.
The American believes that Russell has some big shoes to fill when it comes to him joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes replacing Valtteri Bottas who has joined the Alfa Romeo F1 Team.
Andretti told Racingnews365.com: “He has some huge shoes to fill! Not only vis-a-vis Lewis but also vis-as-vis Valtteri, who was a strong, valuable team-mate. We have seen what George did in Bahrain, on a one-off situation, so you would expect that he will show really strong [performance].”
— Mercedes-AMG Motorsport (@amgmotorsport) January 20, 2022
Andretti concluded: “But we always wait to see. You can draw a lot of conclusions, but until it’s proven… Sometimes it’s a one-off that really works out and then when you’re really in there it becomes a little more difficult.”
Russell, who has been dubbed ‘Mr. Saturday’ helped the Williams team finish P8 in the Constructors’ Championship in 2021 and was consistent. This is something that he will need to continue if he wants to be in a position to challenge Hamilton this season.
Mercedes are embarking on a new chapter within the team this year with the arrival of Russell, pairing youth with experience and it is going to be very interesting to watch the dynamic within the outfit over the course of the year.
The 2022 Formula 1 season gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix from March 18-20.
Andretti still wants a spot on the F1 grid
Mario Andretti reveals that his son, Michael, is not giving up on his dream of owning a F1 team.