George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
They might be teammates in 2022, but the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will soon reach boiling point, according to David Coulthard. Russell, 23, will replace Valterri Bottas at Mercedes next season to form a mouth-watering all British line-up, and has already warned seven-time world champion Hamilton he’s not prepared to simply settle for being the number two driver.
Whilst Hamilton, 36, has been lavish in his praise for the outgoing Bottas, his heated relationship with previous team-mate Nico Rosberg became infamous as the pair frequently clashed in their battles for the World Drivers’ Championship.
It was Hamilton who edged the German in the overall standings in both 2014 and 2016, before Rosberg took revenge by claiming the title in 2016, which turned out to be his last season in F1 before surprisingly retiring.
Now Coulthard, currently working on Channel 4’s F1 coverage, has predicted similar tensions to unravel when Russell joins from Williams at the end of this season. When asked whether things could “kick off” between the pair next season, Coulthard was in no doubt.
“It will, absolutely. It will be the making of George up against the driver of a couple of generations,” he told the Independent.
JUST IN: Fernando Alonso picks who he fears most between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
However, the 50-year-old added he felt any duel would benefit the younger driver: “This is where George Russell becomes the making of a future world champion. Because he hasn’t been pushed by any of his teammates, it will be very different with Lewis.
“In the beginning, he will just be young and full of energy, he will be fresh and then he will get worn down by the relentlessness of Lewis, and that’s the point at which he will grow as a man.”
The comments wouldn’t have been well received by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who insists the team are well-prepared to accommodate two drivers striving for the championship title, a situation that hasn’t materialised during Bottas’ five-year partnership since Hamilton.
“He (Russell) has proven that he deserves to have a seat in a top car and now we need to get him properly adjusted into the Mercedes situation,” Wolff said.
Max Verstappen ‘carrying anger’ with Lewis Hamilton says Daniel Ricciardo
Sebastian Vettel backed to make unusual career change when he quits F1
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agrees with Ferrari rival over rule change after meeting held
“There’s a lot more pressure, he’s having an unbelievable teammate with the biggest records and there it’s important that you condition him and you calibrate him in the right way.
“We’ve seen situations in the past where they’ve failed; Lewis was part of one where I think the team didn’t quite understand how it could potentially go.”
Wolff, 49, says the team have learnt from past experience, but hinted that there may be need to mediate between two ambitious drivers: “I think we’re maybe a little bit better prepared for that situation but nevertheless, he has all the ambition to be a future world champion and so has Lewis, to add another one, so it’s about calibration.”
Despite his profitable move, Russell won’t be expected to immediately challenge the supremacy of his more esteemed partner.
He made headlines for an eye-catching display in qualifying in Belgium last month, securing second place in an uncompetitive Williams car, a position that became his final one the following day when inclement weather meant only two race laps behind a safety car were possible.
In the 2020 season, he replaced Hamilton at Mercedes for the Sakhir Grand Prix while the defending world champion was out with Covid-19, and turned in an impressive display before tyre problems saw him finish ninth.
However, he will head to Mercedes as a full-time driver still seeking a maiden Grand Prix victory.
Source: Read Full Article