George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Partnering up George Russell with Sir Lewis Hamilton could be a recipe for trouble – according to former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg. Russell, 23, has now joined the Silver Arrows from Williams, having been signed up to replace Valtteri Bottas in the 2022 campaign.
Russell, long considered one of the sport’s hottest prospects, actually stood in for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion tested positive for Covid-19, and was in contention to win the race before mechanical problems saw him finish ninth.
He finished the 2021 campaign with just 16 points in what was considered an uncompetitive Williams car, but has been dubbed ‘Mr Saturday’ after regularly punching above his weight in qualifying.
Indeed, his season high-point came in Belgium, where he qualified second in adverse weather, and when only two safety-car led laps were possible the following day he duly secured a first ever podium finish.
However, his move to Mercedes will inevitably bring increased scrutiny, as well as question marks as to whether he can challenge his new teammate on the track.
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Rosberg himself knows all about racing alongside Hamilton, with the pair notoriously sharing a fractious relationship during their four-year spell together with the ‘Silver Arrows’.
The Sky Sports pundit joined Mercedes in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2013 when the British driver arrived, with Wolff immediately stating neither would be given preferrential treatment.
However, tensions escalated between the pair throughout the 2014, 2015, and 2016 campaigns, when both were leading contenders for the drivers’ championship.
It was Hamilton, 36, who finished as champion in two of those three duels, before Rosberg, also 36, finally won his maiden title before suprisingly retiring from the sport, citing family reasons.
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Hamilton did enjoy a more harmonious relationship with Bottas, although the Finn was never able to seriously challenge Hamilton’s superiority, and now Rosberg is intrigued to see how this all-British partnership will pan out.
“It was a difficult decision for Toto, because the risk is quite high. If George is really on exactly the same pace as Lewis, it could become really intense in the team,” he told Planet F1.
“There are a lot of unknowns there, is George always going to back out, or is he going to get his elbows out? That’s just going to be so great to watch.”
Russell underwent his first testing session with his new team in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, and if he wanted to get Hamilton onside, her perhaps went the right way about it following Sunday’s controversial Grand Prix at the Yas Marine.
After Hamilton was bizarrely denied a record-breaking eighth world title when race director Michael Masi inadvertently altered the safety car procedure late on, Russell took to social media to speak out.
“THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!” he tweeted.
“Max is an absolutely fantastic driver who has had an incredible season and I have nothing but huge respect for him, but what just happened is absolutely unacceptable. I cannot believe what we’ve just seen.”
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