Russell: "Mercedes told me that I will have the same treatment as Hamilton"
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George Russell says he will have the same treatment as Hamilton at Mercedes next year and it was told ‘clearly’ by the team. Mercedes announced on Tuesday that Russell will drive for their team from next year, where he will replace Valtteri Bottas.
Russell has been a member of Mercedes ’junior driver program since 2017, and last year he replaced Hamilton at the Sakhir GP when the latter was tested positive for COVID-19. Russell does not expect to play the ‘second violin’ to Hamilton as Bottas often did.
"We will definitely have equal treatment. I was clearly told that. I think Mercedes has always respected drivers in the sense that they have given both drivers the best opportunities. I believe in myself and I have high goals, but I also know that it will be very difficult.
" “Lewis is a seven-time champion for a reason and I think I’m in one of the best positions on the grid. I will be able to learn from him. As for me, I see this partnership with Mercedes as something long-term." "I have to use next year as an opportunity to learn, I go race by race and we will see what happens, ”Russell said.
Russell says Mercedes don’t want to repeat intra-team problems as was the case when Rosberg and Hamilton were teammates and stresses that Mercedes has learned its lessons from that experience. Since Bottas joined the team, Mercedes have drastically changed their policy and have not hesitated to use team orders in favor of a driver who is better placed in the standings.
"Mercedes have experience of bad dynamics in the team and they were clear that they do not want that to happen again. Personally, I don't want that either." "It is important that teammates work together and push the team forward.
Next year we have new cars, new rules. No one has a guarantee that they will have the fastest car. It's our job as a driver to push the team forward. " "I would also say that Lewis and I are in different stages of our careers, which is also helpful.
I have great respect for him. I’m a lot younger and I looked up to him as a young go-kart driver, so I think that changes the dynamic as well. I don't see that we will have any problems at all, "Russell added. Most believe that Russell and Hamilton will be a great tandem and that their connection will be much better than was the case with Bottas. Russell is a really promising driver and we can expect a lot from him