Nico Rosberg fires a warning to his old team-mate Lewis Hamilton as he says the seven-time F1 world champion ‘can only LOSE’ alongside George Russell at Mercedes next season
- George Russell will partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes from the 2022 season
- The 23-year-old is a rising star in Formula One and has impressed at Williams
- Nico Rosberg, who once partnered Hamilton, says it’s ‘uncomfortable’ for his old rival to be going up against a team-mate that has ‘everything to gain’ next year
Lewis Hamilton is in a lose-lose scenario alongside George Russell at Mercedes next season, according to his former team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Russell was confirmed this week as the successor to Valtteri Bottas with the silver arrows having impressed at Williams since making his F1 debut two years ago.
Rosberg, who partnered Hamilton for three years and beat him to the world championship in 2016, believes Russell has ‘nothing to lose’ as the incoming driver and Hamilton finds himself in an increasingly ‘uncomfortable’ situation.
Lewis Hamilton (left) will be partnered at Mercedes next season by George Russell (right)
‘The positive [for Russell] is he has nothing to lose and everything to gain because you’re up against the best of all time,’ Rosberg told Sky F1.
‘Nobody expects you to destroy him but if you manage to, you’ll be the absolute biggest hero of all time.
‘That’s what makes it so difficult for Lewis because he’s got this young gun who’s never won anything coming in, so Lewis can only lose actually.
‘He’s the greatest, and imagine this young gun starts to beat him…that’s a really uncomfortable situation to be in.’
Hamilton described the departing Bottas, who is moving down the paddock to join Alfa Romeo, as his ‘best team-mate’ in a gushing social media post following his departure confirmation.
Nico Rosberg (left), who partnered Hamilton (right) for three years at Mercedes, believes the situation is ‘uncomfortable’ for his former team-mate because Russell has ‘nothing to lose’
Bottas has been a key part of Mercedes constructors’ championships since joining in 2017 but he has never found himself as a serious title challenger to Hamilton which Rosberg owes to being too ‘conservative’.
Asked whether Russell needs to be confident wheel-to-wheel racing with Hamilton, Rosberg added: ‘It’s such a fine line. Valtteri has been too conservative throughout five years, so he’s got it a bit wrong.
‘There are other examples of being a bit too aggressive, so it’s such a fine line.’
Sportsmail revealed last week that Toto Wolff decided to draft in the 23-year-old Englishman to the Mercedes team as he plans for life after seven-time world champion Hamilton
Wolff revealed that signing Russell from Williams has been a ‘weight off our shoulders’.
The Mercedes boss said: ‘Looking forward to 2022, we are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes.
Russell replaced Hamilton in the Mercedes team for last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix in December
Hamilton (left) described Valtteri Bottas (right) as his ‘best team-mate’ in Formula One
Hamilton thanked Bottas for his contributions and called him his ‘best team-mate’ (above)
‘He has been a winner in every racing category – and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1. Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time.
‘I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years to come.
‘It’s a weight off our shoulders to have our plans for 2022 clear and announced; but now, our focus returns to the final nine races of this season and putting everything into our challenge for this year’s world championships.’
As Sportsmail revealed last week, the decision to bring in Russell has upset Hamilton, with the move going ‘down like a lead balloon’ with the current champion.
A well-placed source told Sportsmail: ‘Toto has made up his mind to bring in George. Lewis has been told and he’s not happy.
‘He wanted Valtteri as a team-mate because he is compliant and not quite quick enough to trouble him, but that’s not what is happening.
‘You could say, as far as Lewis is concerned, it’s gone down like a lead balloon.’
Russell (left) has looked up to Hamilton (right) ever since the former started go-karting
Russell, 23, will link up with Mercedes after three years at Williams, picking up one podium
Hamilton, who turns 37 next year, took time on Tuesday to welcome his new team-mate to Mercedes via social media, claiming that Russell has ‘earned his spot’.
The world champion said: ‘I remember meeting him (Russell) when he was young, dreaming of one day being a Formula One driver. I’d only just reached my own dream of becoming an F1 driver, so I know what this day means and how it will feel for him.
‘He is a great example to all the kids out there that dreams do come true when you chase them wholeheartedly. Through hard work, he has rightly earned his spot on our team.
‘I look forward to seeing him grow as a driver with this great team and working with him to raise this team higher. See you next year.’
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