Russell happy for Hamilton to be the 'captain' at Mercedes in 2022

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George Russell has explained why he is happy for Lewis Hamilton to be the "captain" at Mercedes this season.

The former Williams driver finally got his promotion to the Brackley-based outfit for 2022 replacing Valtteri Bottas, and has impressed with top-five finishes at every race so far.

But while that consistency has earned him an early advantage over Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship, Russell isn't interested in trying to shift the dynamic towards him at Mercedes.

“The fact is, Lewis and I have a good relationship,” he told GQ Magazine.

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“I think we are at different stages of our careers, there’s no hard feelings either way,” he later added on Sky Sports F1.

“From my side, I’m 24 years old going against the greatest of all time. If he finishes ahead of me, obviously I don’t like it but I won’t cry and sulk about it.

“Equally, from Lewis’ side, he has achieved so much – he’s a seven-time World Champion, he holds records.

“You see it sometimes when you have two drivers who are at the same stage of their career, both are fighting for that top leadership spot – ‘I want to be the one’.

“Whereas from both of us, there isn’t that. Lewis has been here so long, I’m the new kid at the team.

“I’m not going to go out there trying to be the leader of the team when I’m going up against the greatest of all time who’s been here for 10 years.

“He’s like the captain of the team and that’s how it should be."

Russell also believes it is in his best interest to spend his early time at Mercedes as the understudy to Hamilton.

“I want to win… obviously,” he said. “I want to win today. But you give me the choice of winning today and having an average future, or learning today and then 10 years of success – it’s an easy choice.

“People ask me ‘what’s your goal this year?’ and I never say ‘to be World Champion’, that’s obvious.

“How are you going to be World Champion? You’ve got to work on the process. I’m an F1 driver who’s only scored 20 points in his career from 60 races.

“Just because I’ve signed with statistically the greatest team of all time, today that doesn’t mean anything.

“I’m going up against the greatest driver of all time – I need to show and prove to people that they signed me for a reason.”


So far, despite a podium in Australia, Russell's Mercedes experience hasn't quite been what was anticipated as porpoising issues on their 2022 car leave them trailing in the upper midfield.

But boss Toto Wolff is delighted by how his protege has handled his first five months at the team.

"Yes, I’m very impressed with how [George has] settled in, how professionally and analytically he helps to assess the situation," he told

"The driver combination is one of the very few highlights I have at the moment on our journey – how well the two of them work together, with no friction; on the contrary, [they're] very productive and positive for the team.

"And I couldn’t be happier with the driver line-up. In that respect I think we have the two best drivers, maybe two of the three best drivers and they deserve a car and a power unit that fights at the front rather than them being lapped.

"That’s not what any of them deserves."