Max Verstappen aims a dig at arch-rival Lewis Hamilton as he claims star’s life will be ‘very difficult’ when George Russell starts driving for Mercedes next year… with Brit unhappy at losing ‘compliant’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas in 2022
- Verstappen says George Russell’s Mercedes move is ‘very difficult’ for Hamilton
- The seven-time world champion is unhappy with Russell’s imminent arrival
- And Verstappen has given his view on what Russell’s move means for Mercedes
- Russell impressed during a short stint with Mercedes and will fight Hamilton
Max Verstappen has claimed that George Russell’s expected arrival at Mercedes will be ‘very difficult’ for Lewis Hamilton after it emerged that the Formula One star is unhappy with his countryman’s impending move.
Russell, 23, has impressed this season for Williams, landing 13 points in his last two races including a P2 finish in the controversial two-lap race in Spa, Belgium.
Moreover, Russell has been labelled ‘Mr Saturday’ by pundits, having consistently overperformed during qualifying in an inferior car.
Max Verstappen (R) predicts life will be ‘very difficult’ for Lewis Hamilton (L) next season
Sportsmail understands that Williams star George Russell is on the verge of a Mercedes move
Kimi Raikkonen’s departure from Alfa Romeo at the end of the season has onset a shuffling of the F1 grid, with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff understood to be looking to replace Valtteri Bottas with Russell, while the Finn will replace Raikkonen.
Sportsmail understands that Hamilton, however, is unhappy with Mercedes chief Toto Wolff’s decision due to the Finn being a more ‘compliant’ team-mate.
And now Hamilton’s world championship rival Verstappen has weighed in on the sport’s biggest talking point, opining that Russell will make life ‘very difficult’ the seven-time world champion.
However, Hamilton (L) is unhappy with Toto Wolff (R) for removing ‘compliant’ Valtteri Bottas
And Verstappen (C) has backed Russell (L) to thrive at Mercedes, in a blow to Hamilton (R)
‘If he joins, for sure he will make it very difficult for Lewis,’ the Red Bull star said ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix via The Race.
‘I mean, he jumped into the car in Bahrain and basically was already from lap one making it very difficult for Valtteri, so you can only imagine the more experience you gain in that car and the more you get accustomed within the team naturally you will become faster.
‘When you do your first race you are guided by the team about set-up direction because you just don’t know what to do really initially with the car.
‘I remember my first race at Red Bull, the thing I said was ‘we’ll just follow a bit what Daniel [Ricciardo] is doing because I have no clue about what this car needs to go quick’ because even though of course F1 cars look pretty similar, the way of setting them up can be very different.
Three points separate Hamilton (202.5) and Verstappen (199.5) in the drivers’ standings
‘So I’m very confident [in Russell]. You could see the performance he did at Spa was really good.
‘Of course they set up the car a bit more for wet conditions but nevertheless, to do that in a Williams was very impressive. I do expect him to do very well if he gets that seat.’
Russell’s expected move to Mercedes would make the Briton another F1 youngster to represent a big team on the grid. Lando Norris, 21, is the main man at McLaren, Verstappen, 23, is Red Bull’s No 1 driver, while Ferrari have gone all in on Charles Leclerc, 23.
Hamilton currently holds a three-point lead over his Red Bull rival heading into this weekend’s race in Holland, with fans and pundits torn as to who will emerge triumphant in this engrossing title race.
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