As potential Formula 1 retirement looms, Lewis Hamilton names his successor at Mercedes. Although the 2022 F1 season has not been a very successful one for Lewis Hamilton, it has nevertheless allowed George Russell to reveal his true worth. The young British driver, the seven-time world champion’s new team-mate, is an impressive fifth in the overall standings. In fact, Lewis Hamilton believes that his compatriot has the qualities required to succeed him at Mercedes.
The transition to the new regulations has been a difficult one for Mercedes this season. The team has experienced some problems with the development of its car and has had to struggle with one particularly significant problem. Toto Wolff’s team was struggling to suppress the porpoising of its car. While waiting for the violent car bouncing to be solved, Lewis Hamilton had a difficult time on the Formula 1 track.
With a car that was significantly less efficient than the Ferraris and Red Bulls, the British driver quickly found himself out of the running for the title. However, things were visibly different for George Russell. The 24-year-old, who had just arrived to replace Valtteri Bottas, found himself in the top five of the overall standings, despite being used to the back of the grid with Williams. With his qualities, George Russell certainly has a bright future ahead of him. In fact, Lewis Hamilton was quick to praise him.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult [being Russell’s teammate]; it’s been fun, we’ve worked together incredibly well. George has been super positive… has had a positive impact on the working environment. Overall, he’s been a real pleasure to work with and it’s great to see his success,
“He’s done such a good job, got good points for the team and he’s going to keep getting better, he’s going to keep getting better for a long time,” he said in comments written on the official Formula One website.
Lewis Hamilton even believes that George Russell could be in a position to take over at Mercedes when he retires, as he is already 37 years old: “I definitely see a lot of potential in him [to be world champion] and he’s in the right place for that. I really think that… whether I’m here or not, he has all the qualities to help take this team forward into the future and lead it to success, so I think it’s the right choice for the team. Hopefully I can contribute a little bit to help him progress.”
However, George Russell prefers not to get carried away and keep his feet on the ground as he explained in a recent episode of the Beyond The Grid podcast:
“I like to look at things a bit more objectively. Things can change very quickly in Formula One and signing a piece of paper to join the biggest team of this era, without a doubt, is obviously a huge moment,
But if I don’t perform well, if I get my ass kicked by the greatest driver of all time, what does that mean? Because in a year’s time I’ll probably be out the door. It was a big step on my ladder, but it’s a bit like the image of the guy climbing the mountain – he thinks he’s at the top and he looks up and the peak is miles away, and you get there and there’s another peak, and that’s kind of the way I see it. There’s a lot to celebrate for a moment like that,
“I want to be world champion, I want to win races, and signing that contract didn’t guarantee anything.”