Russell assured of equal status with Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022

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George Russell has been promised equal status with Lewis Hamilton when he joins Mercedes next season.

This week, the worst kept secret in Formula 1 was announced as the current Williams driver will replace the Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas in 2022.

Russell's arrival at Mercedes is being seen as a pivotal moment for Mercedes, as they begin to prepare for a future without Hamilton.

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But in the intermediary, there are some who believe the master/apprentice dynamic could result in tensions, similar to those between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the early years of the hybrid era or Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in 2019.

“Yes I think Mercedes have had a clear experience of a sort of poor dynamic within the team and they’ve made it absolutely clear that they don’t want a repeat and I think, on a personal level as well, I don’t want that either," Russell admitted on Thursday at Monza.

“I think it’s important for teammates to work together, to push the team. Next year, it’s a new car, new regulations, there’s no guarantees who is going to have the fastest car so it’s our job as drivers to push that forward and I’d say as well, Lewis and I are at very different stages of our career, which I think also helps.

“I have huge respect for him and being so much younger, looking up to him as a young karting driver changes that dynamic a lot. I don’t see there being any issues at all."

Even so, after several years where his predecessor Bottas has been labelled a 'wingman' for Hamilton, Russell is confident he'll be allowed to race and potentially beat the seven-time world champion.

“[I'm] definitely going in on level terms and that was made very clear to me," he insisted.

"I think Mercedes has always been respectful in that regard, giving both the drivers the best opportunity, and obviously, naturally I believe in myself, and I have high aspirations, but equally I know how tough it’s going to be.

“But as I said, I think Lewis and I have got a really great relationship, we’re at different stages of our careers, and we’ve got one goal next year which is to develop the car push it forward and make sure that we, as two drivers, give ourselves the best chance of having the fastest race car and the only way we’re going to do that is by working together to develop that."