GEORGE RUSSELL became Lewis Hamilton’s new F1 team-mate ahead of the 2022 season.
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George Russell has revealed that some of Lewis Hamilton’s traits are “really intriguing” and that he “never thought it was going to be easy” joining Mercedes as his new team-mate this year. Russell took over Valtteri Bottas’ Silver Arrows seat ahead of the 2022 F1 season and has impressed during the first half of the year.
“There are some traits that he definitely carries that are really intriguing for me,” Russell said after being asked if he had noticed Hamilton doing anything differently from the data they share. “I’m not going to share those now because I’m the only driver on this grid who has the luxury of being teammates with the greatest driver of all time.”
Russell joined Mercedes in 2017 as a junior driver before signing a deal to drive for the Williams F1 team from 2019 until 2021. The 24-year-old produced a string of stellar displays for Williams as he established himself as one of the best young drivers on the grid. And he ultimately returned to his parent team to race alongside Hamilton.
“Obviously, it’s done my confidence more good than if I started on the backfoot and if I was behind,” Russell added as he spoke about his return to the Silver Arrows. “I think it’s been clear over the past few years [that] it’s not easy changing teams and going somewhere new when there’s already an established driver on the other side of the garage.
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George Russell became Lewis Hamilton’s new F1 team-mate ahead of the 2022 season (Image: GETTY)
“At the end of the day, this is Lewis’ territory. He’s been here for 10 years, he’s won however many championships with the team and they’ve had so much success together – so I never thought it was going to be easy.”
Russell has outshone Hamilton over the first half of the season and has demonstrated that he has the ability to become world champion in the future if Mercedes can overcome the problems with their cars. The team have suffered with porpoising issues, with Russell and Hamilton struggling to compete with their Red Bull and Ferrari rivals at many Grands Prix.
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The 2022 F1 season continues in France this weekend (Image: EXPRESS)
Despite the team’s woes, Russell currently finds himself fifth in the Drivers’ Championship standings after finishing in the top five at every Grands Prix apart from the Silverstone race, where he retired.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is one place behind his fellow Briton following a string of erratic early-season displays, which saw him finish 10th in Saudi Arabia, 13th in Imola and eighth in Monaco. But the 37-year-old has now secured three consecutive podium finishes. So the Mercedes duo will be hoping to close the gap on the divers above them in the standings when they take to the track at the French Grand Prix this weekend.