Mercedes ‘better prepared’ to avoid damaging Hamilton-Russell rivalry


Mercedes are keen to avoid the unhealthy rivalry which overshadowed Nico Rosberg’s time alongside Lewis Hamilton when George Russell joins the team next year.

The ambitious 23-year-old will partner fellow Briton and seven-times world champion Hamilton when he moves from Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas.

When Hamilton went to Mercedes in 2013 he had a series of tense run-ins with German Rosberg, Hamilton winning every title available except for 2013 and 2016, a year when Rosberg prevailed.

“George Russell 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,” team boss Toto Wolff was quoted as saying on the F1 website on Monday.

“There’s a lot more pressure, he’s having an unbelievable team-mate 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 and I think we’re maybe a little bit better prepared for that situation.”

Despite appearing to infer that Hamilton will be able to pull rank, Wolff still thinks Russell can excel for the team.

“He has all the ambition to be a future world champion and so has Lewis, to add another one, so it’s about calibration,” Wolff added.

Hamilton is currently in a thrilling battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for this season’s title with the next race in Russia on Sunday.

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