Russell as teammate
Hamilton has already experienced several team-mates during his 15 seasons in Formula 1 and will face yet another challenge in 2022. As seven-time champion, he will have to compete against George Russell, who is seen by many as his successor. So it promises to be an interesting duel at Mercedes.
However, the first encounter between the two goes back much further. At the age of 11, Russell met his hero at a Formula Kart Stars event in 2009. Hamilton was still driving for McLaren at the time and had just won his first world title in 2008. Russell, who looks up to Hamilton, has always remembered that moment, but the same can't be said for Hamilton.
Photo with Hamilton
"I don’t remember meeting him with that picture because I have a bad memory, but he’s had an amazing run getting to F1. He was already a part of our team so I’ve seen him at engineering and simulator times, and obviously him being at Williams. So he fits in the position like a glove," Hamilton said in a press briefing to GPblog among others.
For Hamilton, Russell is a completely new challenge. At Mercedes, Hamilton entered as a team-mate of Nico Rosberg with whom he had a fierce battle with. At the end of 2016, Rosberg decided to quit immediately after his world title, leaving Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas as his team-mate. That turned out to be much less exciting, as the Finn could never really fight with the Brit.
Russell, however, is a junior from the Mercedes program and he is seen as a great talent. So for Hamilton, this will be a different challenge than Bottas. By some, Russell is seen as one of the greatest talents of his generation, with titles in GP3 and Formula 2, among others, already on his CV.
Racing against a world champion
"So far it’s great. I think I’ve learned a lot over the years on how to engage with a teammate, and how to work as a team to achieve the ultimate goal. That’s one of the reasons why we have more world titles than any other team," Hamilton said.
"I’m excited to engage with him [Russell] and collaborate with him, hopefully our driving styles aren't too dissimilar. I know what it’s like being in his position up against a world champion, I know the pressures and the internal feelings of what it’s like. I want him to grow," concluded Hamilton, who stepped in alongside Fernando Alonso at McLaren on his debut in 2007.