George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Former F1 world champion and senior Williams advisor Jenson Button has offered George Russell some key advice on what to expect as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes. The Briton stormed to victory during Brawn GP’s only season in Formula one in 2009, topping the standings all season, with Button finishing 11 points clear of Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull and claiming his one and only World Championship title in Formula One.
However, Button’s next journey took him to McLaren, alongside the then one-time world champion Hamilton who had spent three years with the team already, with both drivers on a level playing field heading into the 2010 season.
Russell meanwhile becomes Hamilton’s third team-mate at Mercedes, replacing Valtteri Bottas after an impressive three seasons at Williams.
But Button believes it’s a brilliant opportunity for Russell to create his own identity at Mercedes.
“You’ve just got to walk into that team and be yourself,” Button told Sky F1. “Don’t try to be something you’re not.
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“That’s the thing with George, he’s a very quick driver but he’s also got a great personality and he works really hard. He has engineer meetings about the engineer meetings.
“He’s fully focused and I think he’s just got to bring that to the team and not worry about what Lewis is doing straight away, just do his own thing and be himself.”
Button remained with McLaren until 2017, before deciding to retire from Formula One to concentrate on other racing ventures, however, reflecting on his time with Hamilton admitted he thought sometimes the seven-time world champion can be “naive” in certain ways.
“We got on, we didn’t really argue,” added the 41-year-old. “There was a couple of times – misinformed, I would say, on both sides – we had a few issues but nothing major.
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“I would say for Lewis it was a strange thing me coming into his team and having equal treatment. The first thing I said when I walked in the front door was ‘is this Lewis’ team or do we get equal treatment?’. They said ‘equal treatment and I said ‘where do I sign?’
“I personally feel Lewis is very straightforward with his driving. He’s naive in certain ways or was when we were team-mates.
“When it comes to building a team of people around you, you have to walk in and make sure you surround yourself with good people in the team – be a team player, take the guys out to dinner.
“The small things count, they’re important so people think you care and understand that you care.
“That’s something Lewis didn’t do in the early days because he was so fast, he thought he didn’t need to do anything else.
“He has definitely learned over the years from his team-mates and he’s the complete package now. For George to go to the team now, it’s a very different story from when we did.”
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