Hamilton treating Russell the same as Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton has claimed he’s working with new partner George Russell in the same way he did with Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes bid to notch a Grand Prix win before the end of the season. After five seasons with the Silver Arrows, Bottas was replaced by the youngster at the end of the 2021 campaign – signing instead with Alfa Romeo.

After confirming his switch, Russell voiced his intention to compete with the seven-time world champion to become the team’s No 1 driver, leading many to question how the pair would co-exist. Hamilton had previously had a tempestuous relationship with Nico Rosberg, with the German ending his run of three straight titles in 2016 before surprisingly retiring from the sport.

A tilt at the championship hasn’t materialised for either Mercedes driver in 2022 though, with the team plagued by the issue of porpoising. Russell lies fourth in the overall standings, one place – and 15 points – ahead of his more esteemed teammate.

However, there has been little sign of tension that many envisaged, despite both drivers still desperately seeking a first win the season. Indeed, Hamilton has now said that Russell has done an “amazing” job since switching from Williams.

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“I just try to work with him as I did with Valtteri,” he told the official F1 website. “When you add new people, it takes time to all get into the rhythm, but I think he’s done an amazing job, we got into a decent rhythm quite early on, and we’re continuing to work out any kinks there to continue to be on that rhythm.”

The F1 icon also implied that Russell’s time spent on the team’s development programme helped him settle quickly: “He would sit behind in debriefs and engineering so he knows the process, and the lay of the land here,” he continued. “He comes in and slots in, he knows what to expect. And from my side, I’ve just tried to be as welcoming and include him – trying to communicate a lot about the car, what can I test, what can you test to get us to point A?”

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For his part, Bottas has frequently declared himself happy having left for Alfa Romeo, and has implied he gets a bigger say on team affairs. Having criticised the manner in which engineers depended on computer data at Mercedes, he said of his new team: “The simulation tools are developing well in Hinwil, but for now, it feels like there is more human and driver effect on steering things, which I personally enjoy a lot.”

He currently lies tenth in the standings on 47 points, although has just one points finish in the last 11 races. The Finn’s best effort came at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where he ended P5.

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