Russell all for 'win-win' Hamilton partnership but no confirmation yet

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George Russell is all for going up against Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but confirmation of a move is not due just yet.

It is increasingly feeling like a matter of when not if the current Williams is announced as Valtteri Bottas' replacement for 2022, although officially team boss Toto Wolff says he will make a final decision this summer.

However, Russell is already beginning to sound like a Mercedes driver in waiting as he hailed the news of Hamilton's new two-year contract back in Austria.

“I’m really pleased to see Lewis staying in the sport," he said via "He’s obviously a worldwide superstar, and still performing at an exceptional level.

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"He’s like a fine wine, he keeps getting better with age. Max [Verstappen] and Red Bull seem very strong, but I’m sure Lewis is going to be pushing the whole way.

“If Lewis wouldn’t be on the grid next year, it would be a shame," he insisted. "There would be one of the greatest of all-time not on the grid."

Earlier this year Wolff suggested Hamilton and Russell may already have some tension after George's impressive performance for Mercedes at last year's Sakhir Grand Prix, but he was quick to play it down.

“My relationship towards Lewis is the same as it is with a lot of the drivers around the paddock, which is completely fine," he said.

“There are no hard feelings or no issues between myself and Lewis."

Some also feel Hamilton may be worried about the threat posed by Russell, given what happened with Sebastian Vettel after Charles Leclerc joined Ferrari.

And the kid from King's Lynn admits he would have "nothing to lose" versus the seven-time world champion.

“Everyone wants to go up against the best driver," he added. “Everyone believes in themselves. But for me, I’d love that challenge because the pressure would be off and I’d find myself in a win-win scenario.

“I’d go in with that mentality if I ever found myself up against one of the best drivers of all time. You have got nothing to lose – which I think is great really."

While Lando Norris would no doubt will have something to say about it, Russell may have the chance to directly take the Union Jack off Hamilton as F1's next top British driver.

“I guess, hypothetically, that could be exciting to some, especially British fans, but I won’t talk about hypotheticals just yet," he said.

"As I said, just want to be fighting for victories, fighting for world championships.

“I feel ready. I’ve spent three years working my way up from the back to the midfield, performing at my absolute maximum, trying to get the most out of my team around me, and I think we’ve done a really good job and a really solid job.

“But it is different when you are fighting for victories and fighting for championships, as I experienced in my junior career.

"That’s what I live for and hopefully, that day will come sooner rather than later. I got a small taste last year, but I want to taste it week in, week out.”

Rumours have been claiming Russell could be confirmed at Mercedes at his home race this weekend at the British GP, but...

“With regards to my drive for next year nothing has been signed or sealed and nothing will be announced in Silverstone so I can let you know that,” he told the F1 Nation podcast.

So the wait goes on, maybe.