Lewis Hamilton likes to see George Russell as a teammate at the Mercedes Formula 1 team. So the British seven-time world champion said in the run-up to the Dutch Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit next weekend.
“George is incredibly talented and the future. However, it would be very good if he can develop further and where better to do that than with a great team like mine,” said the 36-year-old Briton about his 23-year-old compatriot, who still drives for the modest team, Williams.
Mercedes is said to have already decided that Russell will take over from Finn Valtteri Bottas in 2022, whose contract expires at the end of this year. However, the message has not yet been confirmed, and both Bottas and Russell did not disclose any information in Zandvoort on Thursday.
Hamilton did not drop Bottas but is looking beyond this season. “Valtteri is a decent man who I respect. I can’t become a world champion without his help, but George represents the future generation. And I’m at a stage in my career where I want to experience the breakthrough of those young talents. I find that exciting. I know George as a humble guy who has a very professional approach to the sport.
In addition, he is British, and that makes communication a lot easier,” said Hamilton, who can book his hundredth grand Prix victory in Formula 1 on Sunday in Zandvoort.
Russell replaced the corona-stricken Hamilton at Mercedes at the end of last year in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell would have won the race in Hamilton’s car if the team had not blundered at a tire change. Instead, last weekend Russell was surprised with the second-fastest time in qualifying in the wet Spa. Only Max Verstappen was slightly faster.