F1: Hamilton v Verstappen in numbers
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Lewis Hamilton doesn’t want George Russell as his Mercedes team-mate in 2022, according to a claim from Dutch media. The Williams racer will almost certainly be driving a Silver Arrow next season, now Valtteri Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo has been confirmed.
The prospect of an all-English pair at Mercedes is exciting, especially when both drivers are believed to be capable of winning the drivers’ championship.
While Russell’s expected move is good for British F1 fans, not everyone is so excited about the prospect of the 23-year-old linking up with Hamilton.
That includes the seven-time world champion himself, according to an extraordinary claim from Dutch reporter Christijan Albers.
Speaking on De Telegraaf’s F1 podcast, Toto Wolff has come to this decision after bending to the will of the British media, and said Hamilton did not want this outcome.
He said: “I don’t know if it’s the right choice to have two Englishmen next to each other in a Formula One team. Lewis doesn’t want that either, but then Toto Wolff will change his mind anyway because of all the pressure from those English media.
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“Sorry to say it, but it’s really that English media that really has so much power and is pushing so hard. That’s unprecedented. You saw that at the time with Jenson Button driving for Williams and you have more cases like that.
“Fernando Alonso also noticed that the British press drove him and Hamilton apart. It is unbelievable. If the British have something in their heads it has to happen.
“Look already how that went those last few races, how those English media keep pushing that. You see it on Sky, they keep pushing that Russell has to get in that seat and that he deserves it.”
Hamilton has said in recent weeks he has enjoyed calling Bottas his team-mate, and that he would have been happy for that partnership to continue for another year.
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But the defending champion has also heaped praise on Russell, saying the Norfolk racer is part of the future of the sport.
Albers concurred it was a good thing that a young driver is to be given a chance in a competitive car.
But he claimed Russell’s promotion might be good news for Dutch favourite Max Verstappen, with the ambitious youngster potentially taking valuable points away from his team-mate-to-be.
He said: “I like that Russell is getting a chance, let’s not forget that.”
“But in terms of Lewis Hamilton, in terms of being relaxed, you notice that with Max as well, if there is someone driving next to Max who is good but not too good, then a driver like that comes out much more and then he is much more relaxed.
“Then he knows even if he has a bad lap, he still has an easy time. That just gives that little extra, where those extra tenths come from in qualifying.”
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