Russell left Williams at the end of the last season to join Hamilton at Mercedes and replace Valtteri Bottas as the second seat for Toto Wolff. Seven-time champion Hamilton said he’d use his experience of knowing what it’s like to be on a team with a champion, his rookie season saw him line-up next to Fernando Alonso, to help Russell.
“I am excited to engage with him, to collaborate with him,” Hamilton said per GP Fans. “Hopefully, our styles aren’t too dissimilar. I know what it is like for him being in a position up against a world champion and I know the pressures that come with it, the expectations and the external feeling of what it is like.
“I want him to learn as much as he can and grow as much as he can. I have no doubts he is going to be a strong competitor. I will be focusing to make sure I also do the job to the best of my ability.”
There has been discussions on if Hamilton will be able to retain the Mercedes crown. His former teammate Bottas believes he will but former driver Ralf Schumacher has said Russell will beat him from the start of the season.
“I thought it was interesting how gentle the two drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, were with each other [at the launch],” said Schumacher, quoted by Speedweek. “The young Russell was very careful with his comments and emphasised he wants to learn a lot now.
“The tone was quite different when George replaced Lewis in Bahrain 2020 (Sakhir Grand Prix when Hamilton had COVID) and drove alongside Valtteri Bottas. But I’m convinced that internally it looks different, and I already believe he can beat Lewis from the start.”