GEORGE RUSSELL has warned seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton he is not coming to Mercedes as his No 2.
Next season Williams star Russell, 23, will replace Valtteri Bottas, 32, who was once referred to as a “wingman” for Hamilton by Merc boss Toto Wolff.
George Russell says he is going to Mercedes to compete with Lewis Hamilton[/caption]
Valtteri Bottas has been referred to as Lewis Hamilton’s ‘wingman’ at Mercedes[/caption]
Merc tried to balance the team’s harmony between Hamilton and Bottas following 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg’s turbulent relationship with the Brit during their time as team-mates.
Finnish star Bottas is on his way to Alfa Romeo and Russell says he has been assured he will get equal status at Merc when he goes up against Hamilton in 2022.
He said: “I’m definitely going in on level terms and that was made very clear to me.
“Mercedes have always been respectful in that regard, giving both the drivers the best opportunity.
“And obviously and naturally I believe in myself, and I have high aspirations. But equally I know how tough it’s going to be.
“Mercedes have had clear experience of a poor dynamic within the team and they’ve made it absolutely clear that they don’t want a repeat.”
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Hamilton, 36, who had explosive battles with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button when they were at McLaren, believes it is down to Wolff to manage the situation.
He said: “History has shown it can work – and it can’t. It is different in each team and ultimately it is how it is managed.
“You have two championships and individually you want to finish ahead and then also get the team ahead.
“It is a difficult one to navigate through but we have experienced it and learnt from it and should be well set moving forwards.
“Ever since I joined this team in 2013, I wanted equal opportunities.
“Winning when someone’s wings are clipped, that is not something that interests me.”
Lewis Hamilton says he is happy to compete on an even playing field with incoming Mercedes team-mate George Russell[/caption]