George Russell: “Lewis was a superhero to me”

© Mercedes-Benz Group AG

George Russell says being Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate feels “surreal”, and he relishes the “opportunity to learn and see how the best does it”.

At Mercedes’ 2022 car launch George Russell was asked how it feels to be partnering up with the most successful driver in Formula 1 history.

“It’s definitely surreal,” the Briton said.

“We’ve all seen the photo of Lewis and me when I was 10 years old [the famous photo of Russell as a child waiting for Lewis’ autograph]. We’ve both changed quite a lot since then, and it’s incredible to see.

“Obviously, I was a young kid aspiring to reach Formula 1, and Lewis was World Champion at the time.

“Lewis was a superhero to me; you see these incredible people and you don’t think they’re human.

“Now, growing up, having the opportunity to race alongside Lewis is a real privilege for me, because I’ve got such a great opportunity to learn and see how the best does it.”

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Despite both drivers possibly going for the title, Russell is confident that there will be no conflict between them.

“We hear rumours from all of the other teams of how much they’re developing.

“You’ve got to remember that F1 developed this rule-set with the idea that they were going to be around four seconds slower but we’re already hearing from every single team they’re far, far faster than that.

“Lewis and I need to work together, we can’t focus too much on each other because things are constantly changing and that’s why we need to take a step back.

“We hope Mercedes will still be the fastest team, the fastest car on the grid but there are no guarantees and we need to not be naive to that and work together to ensure that we are,” concluded the Briton.

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