Mercedes have managed to bring two of the most talented F1 drivers together as teammates; the ever-dominant 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, and the monarch of qualifying, George Russell. There is no denying that the entire world has been yearning for this particular moment since 2020, when Russell almost clinched his first F1 victory on his very first race as a Mercedes driver.
The Briton clearly showed what he could do with a competitive top-class Mercedes car. Hence, Sakhir 2020 was certainly one of the many reasons that Brackley outfit was impressed, who, soon after that, began to evaluate the Bottas-Russell swap. Well, the swap has come to fruition. And now, the focus shifts onto what the future is holding for the British duo.
For years now, Russell has been lauded as a future world champion. However, with Hamilton showing no signs of slowing down despite his age, one might fear that this could trigger an on-track duel between the two in 2022.
Well, the chances of a rivalry brewing out of the duo are very minimal. Why? You might ask. Well, the answer is Nico Rosberg!
Mercedes have learned enough from the ugly rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg that almost cost the drivers and the team the championship titles.
Hence, the Brackley outfit will be cautious when letting Hamilton and Russell race against each other on the track. Russell may have been quite a reckless driver in the past, causing silly mistakes on the track. However, ever since the Bottas incident in Imola earlier this season, the Briton has looked quite refreshing.
Also, the fact that the Williams driver almost managed to defeat Max Verstappen for pole and consequently for a race win at Spa proved his skills. Hence, Hamilton will be wary of Russell, as he has displayed a steep rise in performance since the 2021 Hungarian GP
Ever since Rosberg’s retirement from F1, Mercedes’ approach to a season has been quite different. From what we have noticed, the Brackley outfit would let their two drivers race each other during the early part of the season.
And after about 5 to 6 race weekends, if one of the drivers is far ahead of the other, the prioritization lands on that particular driver, while the slower driver transitions into a wingman. This especially has been the case when Mercedes faces threats from rival constructors.
Hence, the early part of the 2022 season will be extremely crucial for Russell. If the Briton does manage to get a good start to his campaign, Mercedes could well look to focus on bringing more strong results out of the 23-year-old.
However, if Russell fails to deliver a good start, well, in that case, he might have to take up the role Bottas had been playing for all these years. So, which one of the above-mentioned scenarios will Russell manage to deliver? Will Russell be able to prove that he is worth the hype?