Russell: 'No doubt' Hamilton is the best but I'm 'absolutely ready' for F1 title fight

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George Russell feels "absolutely ready" to take on "the best driver out there" in Lewis Hamilton for the Formula 1 championship.

The current Williams driver is expected to be confirmed at Mercedes for 2022 any day now, with Valtteri Bottas heading to fill the seat left by the retiring Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo.

And as Russell continues to show his potential, including claiming second on the grid in qualifying last weekend in Belgium, which then became his first podium after the race was washed out, the Briton is sure he is ready to battle the very best.

“I feel absolutely ready," he told “I’m still improving all the time, but I feel well prepared for the World Championship fight.

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“These three years at Williams taught me so much. How to deal with disappointment, but also with a racing car that is difficult to drive.

“I’m ready – and want to race for victories and world titles!”

As for the prospect of teaming up with Hamilton at Mercedes, Russell is under no illusions of the challenge that would await him.

“That is of course all hypothetical but I always say I would love to race against Lewis on a team. He’s the best driver of all time – just because of the statistics," he stated.

“For me, it would be a great opportunity to prove myself against the best and learn from the best. We are at different points in our careers and we have a lot of respect for each other.

"I really believe Lewis is the best driver out there because I’ve been inside that Mercedes team, I know what he does," Russell added.

“Quite often, the best driver gets in the best team. If every single car was the same, he’d still be fighting for the World Championship. There’s not a single doubt about that.”

And as for his own growing stock price, the 23-year-old knows he has to keep pushing and improving.

“Of course, it’s always nice to hear such praise for yourself,” he said. “However, your reputation can change very quickly.

“When I hear these things it also means I have to meet the expectations, I have to work even harder. Of course, I believe in myself and it’s nice when other people do the same. But I have to prove it over and over again.

“In Formula 1 you must never take your foot off the accelerator, otherwise someone else will come and overtake you. I like that extra pressure though. I like delivering under pressure.”