George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be teammates at Mercedes next season
Sparks will fly between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell when the British drivers become teammates at Mercedes next season, David Coulthard has predicted.
Russell will take over from Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes but the 23-year-old has warned Hamilton that he has no intention of being the team’s number two driver.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton clashed with Nico Rosberg during the pair’s three-year spell as teammates, with Mercedes keen to avoid a repeat of that situation.
Hamilton has been the clear number one at the team since Rosberg retired in 2016, and has called Bottas as the “best teammate” he’s ever had in the sport, but the dynamic is set to shift once Russell joins the team next year.
When asked whether things could “kick off” between Hamilton and Russell next season, Coulthard said: “It will, absolutely. It will be the making of George up against the driver of a couple of generations.
“This is where George Russell becomes the making of a future world champion. Because he hasn’t been pushed by any of his teammates, it will be very different with Lewis.
“In the beginning, he will just be young and full of energy, he will be fresh and then he will get worn down by the relentlessness of Lewis, and that’s the point at which he will grow as a man.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has said he is keen to avoid a repeat of Hamilton and Rosberg’s frosty relationship, which came to a head in several on-track collisions between the teammates.
Wolff has said Russell will need to adjust and recalibrate to the challenge but added that Mercedes are better prepared to deal with having two drivers who are competing for the title.
“He has proven that he deserves to have a seat in a top car and now we need to get him properly adjusted into the Mercedes situation,” Wolff said.
“There’s a lot more pressure, he’s having an unbelievable teammate with the biggest records and there it’s important that you condition him and you calibrate him in the right way.
“We’ve seen situations in the past where they’ve failed; Lewis was part of one where I think the team didn’t quite understand how it could potentially go.
“I think we’re maybe a little bit better prepared for that situation but nevertheless, he has all the ambition to be a future world champion and so has Lewis, to add another one, so it’s about calibration.”
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