Nico Rosberg tells of his willingness to befriend Lewis Hamilton
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George Russell has opened up on Lewis Hamilton and how their partnership at Mercedes can work in 2022. The youngster will replace Valtteri Bottas with the Silver Arrows, with the Finn leaving for Alfa Romeo. While there’s uncertainty over Hamilton’s future in the wake of his defeat to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, the 36-year-old appears primed to return to the grid.
Hamilton was just one lap away from winning a record eighth F1 title in Abu Dhabi last month.
But the Brit was denied victory due to an incident in the safety car, with Verstappen then reigning supreme instead.
Since then, Hamilton’s future has been the subject of much speculation. Some believe he’ll retire, others expect him to carry on.
And Russell has now made his feelings on his new Mercedes partner clear, while also revealing how their partnership can work next season.
“I think there’s a lot of respect between Lewis and I,” he told the F1 Nation podcast.
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“I think we’re in very different stages of our career.
“Lewis is the guy he is for a reason – he’s the greatest of all time.
“I think we go in there [and] we need to help each other because, [in 2022], the cars are just going to be developing so much, race after race.
“It’s not who has the quickest car at race one, it’s who has the quickest car throughout the whole season.
“And, as drivers, we need to work together with the team to move us forward as one, and that’s going to be the key.”
Russell also opened up on his time with Williams.
The Brit made his F1 debut with the side and spent three years there before returning to Mercedes back in the summer.
In a separate interview with RacingNews365.com, the 23-year-old had only positive things to say about his experiences there.
“They gave me my first opportunity in Formula 1, which I will be forever grateful for,” he said.
“But I think, above all, [they] helped mould me into a better all-round driver, helped me learn the technical side of the sport much more and just develop my skills globally to become a greater driver.
“I guess, above all, you build these bonds and these friendships with people, especially through the good times and even the tough times.
“You grow closer together with so many of your core group of people and that will last forever.”
While Russell has been tipped for a bright future, members of the F1: Chequered Flag podcast team have questioned whether he’s the right man to partner Hamilton.
Jack Nicholls said: “If I’m Mercedes and I have a free choice in that second seat alongside Hamilton, I think I’m picking Norris over Russell after this year.”
And Jolyon Palmer agreed, saying: “I’m going with Jack on it, I’m going with Lando.
“The way that he held off Lewis Hamilton at the end of that Sochi race until the strategy and the tyre choice got away from him, was unbelievable.
“For a guy that has never won a race, to have a seven-time world champion breathing down his neck in a Mercedes…
“Then it starts raining, and he’s still off the road a couple of times, scrabbling around, but keeping Hamilton, we all know how good he is in the wet, behind him.
“It was really legendary stuff I think from Norris.”
The new F1 season starts on March 20 in Bahrain and will end on November 20 in Abu Dhabi.
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