Lewis Hamilton assesses chances of Nico Rosberg repeat with George Russell at Mercedes

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes have learned from his partnership with Nico Rosberg ahead of George Russell’s arrival for the 2022 season. Earlier in the month, it was confirmed that Russell would replace Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas, himself replacing the retiring Kimi Raikkonen. 

Mercedes’ announcement of Russell came after months of speculation following the Brit’s impressive performance as Hamilton’s stand-in for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when the seven-time world champion contracted Covid. 

Russell has impressed for Williams this season and he scored a maiden podium at the aborted Belgian Grand Prix after his stunning qualifying lap secured P2. 

There have been questions raised regarding how the 23-year-old’s addition will affect the dynamic at Mercedes, particularly with the compliant Bottas heading out the door. 

It has led to fans fearing another partnership similar to Hamilton and Rosberg’s tumultuous and ultimately fractured relationship during their three seasons together – with the 2016 title battle going down to the final race.

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Instead of directly quashing any suggestions that history could repeat itself, Hamilton was more philosophical about Russell’s arrival.

“I don’t know. History has shown that it can and history has shown that it can’t,” the 36-year-old said.

“It is different in each team, it is ultimately hard to manage.

“It is quite a strange sport where it is a team sport but it is also an individual sport so you have got those two championships and individually you want to finish ahead but at the same time, you have got to do the job to get the team ahead.

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“It is a difficult one to navigate through but I would like to think we have experienced it and learnt from it and therefore should be pretty well set moving forwards.”

There were reports that Hamilton was internally voicing his support for retaining Bottas as the Finn was a favourable team-mate – and there was even speculation the Brit could veto a Mercedes move for Russell.

However, Hamilton denied such rumours and stated he had little input in the decision.

“Toto [Wolff] and I talk, we are very much team-mates and we discuss everything,” he added. 

“We work together as a team in terms of how we navigate moving forwards.

“He asked me what I thought of George, I naturally gave positive feedback. He asked me how I felt about Valtteri and I did the same.

“At the end of the day it is his and the board’s decision and I think you have seen how positive it has been.”

Formula 1 returns for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on September 26, with Red Bull’s Verstappen holding a slender five-point lead over seven-time world champion Hamilton. 

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