According to George Russell there are no team orders at Mercedes, describing the scenario as a fair playing field for him and Lewis Hamilton.
This season, Mercedes has an all-British lineup on the Formula 1 grid, with George Russell, who replaced Valtteri Bottas, seeming to have the potential at the age of 24.
Russell’s status in the squad for now could be viewed as a ‘wingman’ to the seven-time former World Champion, with enormous potential but relatively little experience racing at the front of the field after three seasons polishing his trade farther down the order with Williams.
However, the young British driver, who finished one position behind Hamilton in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, insists he is free to confront Hamilton on the track if the occasion arises.
“We are on a level playing field,” Russell said in an interview with BBC.
“There are no team orders, we have equal treatment totally and they (Mercedes) trust us to go out there and race fairly.”
“We have a really open relationship,” Russell stated of his working relationship with Hamilton before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix got underway.
“I think because we are at very different stages of our careers there is a really strong mutual respect between us,” he added.
“We both recognise our fight isn’t with each other, as it may be in some other teams.”
“For us, we both want to win but at the moment we are not in a position to be able to win, so we need to work together and push in the same direction to make sure our car goes faster.”
It’s unclear how long Mercedes will be in a position to win as they work to develop the W13, with some performance gains being easier to achieve than others.
“At the moment, we know if we do absolutely everything perfectly we still don’t have the pace in the car to fight with the Red Bull and Ferrari,” said Russell.
Mercedes only finished as high as third and fourth in Bahrain due to the late retirements of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
“We don’t really know what our timeline is. We are working as hard as possible to resolve our issues, but the only way we will find out if we will resolve them is when we jump on the track.
“I trust in my team and if anyone can overcome these issues, I’m sure Mercedes can.”