George Russell will drive alongside Lewis Hamilton next season
George Russell already knows the “boundaries” of racing against Lewis Hamilton when he joins Mercedes next season, says team principal Toto Wolff.
The 23-year-old Russell is due to switch from Williams at the end of the season, to race alongside his childhood idol Hamilton.
Wolff has previously said he believes Russell can challenge for the world championship straight away, but has warned his young charge about how he takes on Hamilton on the track.
“George Russell is another intelligent young man,” Wolff told the Daily Mail. “He will slot into the team but that doesn’t mean he has to hold back when driving. You can’t expect a lion in the car and a puppy out of it.
“But there are certain boundaries within the team that must be respected and George knows them very well. Once the lights are green, only the drivers are responsible. I can’t interfere, manage or remote-control them, but one thing is of ultimate importance – don’t touch. That’s your responsibility. You can race hard, but no contact.”
Wolff has enjoyed a relatively drama-free partnership between Hamilton and current teammate Valtteri Bottas, helped by their sizeable gap on the track, but knows that Russell could reignite a Mercedes rivalry like that of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg before him.
“I’ve been there before with Nico when it wasn’t just a rivalry,” said Wolff. “There was a lot of animosity and that’s not going to happen.”
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