After having faced teammate challenges from significantly experienced drivers like Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, and Valtteri Bottas, the next in line for the 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, is the fairly young George Russell. It’s hardly been 3 years since the 23-year-old made his F1 debut with Williams. And since then, Russell has evolved to be one of the future stars of the sport. Russell recently went on to claim a shocking P2 finish for Williams at Spa this season.
While it is debatable how deserving that podium is, the fact that Russell almost managed to claim pole against Max Verstappen is an incredible feat. Hence, amidst such glimpses of his blistering on-track pace, Hamilton opened up about how challenging it could be, facing Russell.
During the press conference at Monza, the Mercedes driver revealed that he is unaware of how fast Russell will be next season. What’s more, he also wondered whether Russell will be pacier than his predecessor, Valtteri Bottas.
“I don’t know what to expect from George. He has certainly created expectations around him. He has a great talent. I’m sure he will be faster. But, I don’t know if he will be faster or less than Valtteri,” Hamilton said according to FormulaPassion.
The only race where Russell and Bottas competed as teammates was at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. Although Bottas ultimately finished ahead of Russell, the latter proved to be the quickest of the two. Russell led for over 70% of the race, while the Finn remained the second-fastest.
It is undeniably going to be an incredibly tough job for Russell to defeat Hamilton. The 36-year-old is a 7-time world champion, having raced against highly competitive racing drivers including Michael Schumacher, Alonso, and Sebastian Vettel.
Hence, Hamilton will hold a massive amount of experience in hand as opposed to the rather novice Russell. Yes, Russell is definitely clinching victories next season. But, can he keep up the consistency throughout the season?