Lewis Hamilton believes that George Russell will join Mercedes with the same attitude that the seven-time champion himself had when he entered F1 as Fernando Alonso’s McLaren team-mate. The British duo will soon unite, with Valtteri Bottas set to step aside from the Silver Arrows’ second seat at the end of the season.
Russell’s time spent lagging towards the back of the field with Williams is set to come to an end when the season concludes.
A deal which will see him replace Bottas took a long time to thrash out, but the Mercedes junior driver will make the step up for next season.
Meanwhile, having picked up just one victory all year, Bottas will step aside and join up with Alfa Romeo.
It will be the first time in his young career that Russell will be expected to compete for podiums and victories on a consistent basis, and Hamilton seems fully aware that the 23-year-old will be keen to rake in the accolades.
Drawing on his own duels with Alonso, fierce competition could indeed be on the horizon.
“As you know, George is a very respectful person,” Hamilton told Auto-Motor-Und.
“He is super talented and there is already a lot of mutual respect.
“He will certainly be quick and want to win whatever you set out to do for a new role.
“I remember saying before the duel with Alonso that I wanted to beat him right in the first race.
“I expect George to approach the matter with the same attitude, otherwise he wouldn’t be a winner.”
Indeed, Hamilton and Alonso locked horns plenty of times during the former’s debut season in 2007, and they finished the year dead level, one point behind world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
This year, the Brit has had to rediscover the essence of his ruthless, competitive streak by doing battle with Max Verstappen in the tight race for Drivers’ honours.
The presence of Russell alongside him may be a big help for next season, with Bottas coming under criticism at times this year for often lagging behind.
Former Hamilton team-mate and world champion Jenson Button believes that the move, despite the competitive element, will be good for the Mercedes man.
“For Lewis, it puts pressure on his shoulders because he’s never had a young hotshot come into his team that he’s had to beat,” he said.
“It’s a very different dynamic from what we’ve seen with British drivers before as team-mates – it was Lewis and myself – so I’m really excited for that fight if it happens.
“It will be great for Lewis because it’s another challenge for him.”