Hamilton sees Russell as his successor as World Champion

Next season, Lewis Hamilton will have a new Mercedes teammate in the person of George Russell. Thirteen years separate the seven-time World Champion from the brand’s new star-studded prodigy, and Hamilton expects his younger brother to give him a hard time on the track: he even compares the situation to his own arrival at McLaren in as a rookie, when he had played for the title against his teammate Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen. Above all, the Englishman wants to make Russell his heir at Mercedes and at the top of Formula 1.

« I think you noticed that George is extremely respectful », says Hamilton in a semi-exclusive interview with Motorsport.com. « He is a super talented young man and I believe there is already immense respect between us. »

“But he’s going to want to be quick, he’s going to want to come in and win, and do all of those things that you do when you get into a new role. I remember like I said when I was up against Alonso, of course I wanted to beat him in the first race, so I’m aware that George will have that mentality and I expect that or else he wouldn’t be a winner, you see? « 

« I really want to see him succeed. There will be a stadium where I do not continue in this sport, and he is my teammate, he will be the next Briton I want to see win a World Championship. Even though we will be competitors and i want to win on the track, i really hope i can have a positive influence on his behavior within the team, be it the time he spends in engineering or the way he peels the data – or even how he drives on the track. « 

Having made his debut in the premier class of motorsport in 2007, Hamilton in any case takes a critical look at the younger generation, especially regarding the advantages and disadvantages of circuits as they are designed today.

« What I would say is that the young drivers today have grown up on circuits which all have great clearance areas, while in my early days in motorsport most of the tracks weren’t there. the », underlines the Mercedes driver, who made his first single-seater season in 2002, in Formula Renault UK. « It was more fun, more risky, and you had to drive more, never going over the limit. You really had to take your marks slowly, while their generation can go far beyond the limit, go wide and get back on track. The penalty is less. That’s the only real difference. « 

« But they seem super motivated. We know we have more riders today who come from a wealthy background than from a popular background, more than ever, that’s nothing new. But I think we have a very good pedigree of drivers coming into F1. « 

Interview by Jonathan Noble

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