George Russell warned not to ‘knock spots’ off Lewis Hamilton after Mercedes move

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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George Russell has been warned against immediately going all out against new team-mate Lewis Hamilton when he begins racing with Mercedes from next season. The 23-year-old replaces Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows from 2022, creating an exciting all-British lineup with seven-time world champion Hamilton.

Russell has impressed in his three seasons with Williams, and played a key role in a struggling team becoming more competitive in the 2021 season.

After scoring three points the previous year, he improved that tally to 16 in the campaign just gone as he was a more regular fixture in the points battle.

He has been dubbed ‘Mr Saturday’ for his consistently strong performances in qualifying, proving he is lightning quick over one lap in a car which was not necessarily as fast as some of those he was beating.

His best lap came at Spa, where he mastered the tricky wet conditions to qualify second and ultimately finished the race in that position after it was called off due to the relentless rain.

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It was Russell’s first podium in F1, and he will be hoping for many more now he is driving for the team which has been the fastest on the grid for years now.

He has made little attempt to hide his personal ambition to become world champion, and he will be out to prove that he is capable of achieving exactly that as his first season with Mercedes gets under way in March.

One of those he will be up against in that ambition is Hamilton, who will be gunning for a record-breaking eighth title after being denied on the very final lap of this season’s finale by Max Verstappen.

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Their partnership has led to speculation that Hamilton may once again have to contend with a rival within his own team, like he did when he first came into the sport with Fernando Alonso and later with Nico Rosberg.

With that in mind, 1996 world champion Damon Hill has warned Russell against going into the new campaign all guns blazing and ready for a scrap with his new team-mate.

Instead, he believes the first year of that new partnership at Mercedes is an opportunity for Russell to truly learn his trade, and for Hamilton to pass on some of his experience and wisdom to the much younger Brit.

“I think it’s going to be great to watch. I’m sure Lewis will be wanting to encourage George. I don’t see it going wrong,” Hill told Express Sport.

“I think Lewis recognises that his timespan is shorter in the sport than George’s so he will want to play his part in giving him a leg up – not that he needs one, probably.

“It’s down to George and how he approaches it, I think. You can go into these situations and think: ‘Right, that’s the enemy over there and I’m out to knock spots off them’.

“That might not be the wisest thing to do with Lewis, I don’t think.

“That’s something to really look forward to next year. I’ll be as excited as anyone to see what will happen.”

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