RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton has revealed his pleasure in working with new team mate George Russell this season and his belief that Russell can lead the team to further glory in the future.

    Former Mercedes junior and Williams driver Russell, who was called up to the works team in replacement of Valtteri Bottas for the 2022 season, has finished in the top five in 10 of the opening 11 races.

    And Hamilton has praised the “positive impact” that Russell has had on their team, believing that Mercedes made the right choice with their driver line-up.

    READ MORE: Russell admits that three years with Williams was 'too long' – there was 'no way out'

    “I won't say it's been tough [being Russell’s team mate]; it's been pleasant, we've worked together incredibly well,” said Hamilton. “George has been super positive… had a positive impact on the work environment. It's generally been a real pleasure to work with him and it's been great to see his success. He's done such a great job, got great points for the team and he's going to continue to improve, he's going to continue to improve for a long time.

    “I definitely see that he's got so much potential in him [to be a world champion] and he's in the right place for it as well. I really think that… whether or not I'm here, he has all the qualities to help take this team forward in the future and lead them to success, so I think it's been the right choice for the team. I hope I can be a little bit of a part of helping him progress.”

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    Russell has made a fine start to the season as he currently leads Hamilton in the drivers' championship

    But Russell has taken a much more pragmatic view to his time at Mercedes, insisting that, while it has been great to sign for the eight-time world champions, his goals of winning titles and races are not guaranteed.

    “I like to look at things a bit more objectively,” said Russell on a recent episode of the Beyond The Grid podcast. “Things can change very quickly in Formula 1 and signing a piece of paper to join the greatest team of this era, without doubt, is obviously a huge moment.

    READ MORE: Mercedes tech boss details ‘amazing achievement’ by crew as they fixed Hamilton’s qualifying crash damage in 3.5 hours

    “But if I don’t perform, if I go and get my arse kicked by the greatest driver of all time, what does it mean? Because in a year’s time I’ll probably be out the door.

    “It was a huge step on my ladder, but it’s sort of like the image of the guy climbing the mountain – he thinks he's at the top and he looks up and the peak’s miles away, and you get there and there’s another peak, and that’s kind of the way I look at it. There is a lot to celebrate for a moment like that. I want to be a world champion, I want to win races, and signing that contract didn’t guarantee anything.”