Lewis Hamilton insists he is looking forward to the challenge of George Russell as his team-mate next season after the British duo were allowed to race.
Mercedes announced earlier this week that they had signed the 23-year-old from King’s Lynn to team up with the current world champion. Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Russell confirmed he had been assured by the team that he would not be number two and would be given the chance to challenge Hamilton.
Russell, who will replace Valtteri Bottas next season, has proved to be a highly talented prospect, but this will be his first chance to spend a full season in a competitive car. Hamilton, 36, is in his 15th season in Formula One. A seven-time world champion with nothing to prove, he hopes there is no love lost between the two Mercedes drivers.
“When I joined Mercedes in 2013, I said to [then team principal] Ross Brawn that I just wanted equal opportunity,” Hamilton said. “It’s the most valuable position because if you’ve done the work and it’s been successful, you know your work is being done at its best. A man wins when his wings are clipped — that’s not something I’m interested in.”
However, Hamilton has not been challenged by Bottas over the past five years and has maintained a friendly relationship with the Finn both personally and professionally. Russell is likely to be a more challenging challenge, unlikely to simply succumb to Hamilton’s experience and seniority. Of course, Mercedes will give him every chance to challenge for the title.
“I will definitely talk in a fair way and Mercedes have always respected that and given both drivers the best chance,” Russell said. “I have high ambitions but I know how tough it will be. Lewis is a seven-time world champion for a reason. I was in one of the luckiest positions on the grid to be able to go there and learn from him.”
Reprint indicated source：Shine Trader Limited Live information