Lewis Hamilton’s 2021 championship rival and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen believes the seven-time world champion will be having a tougher fight on the track if George Russell joins him for 2022 season at Mercedes as his team mate.
Verstappen talked of how he was impressed by Russell’s performance at Spa Francorchamps last weekend where they shared the front row of the grid in a race that was postponed due to poor weather conditions. He also does not forget Sakhir GP back in 2020 where Russell was very close to winning the race he had substituted Hamilton.
“If he joins for sure, he will make it very difficult for Lewis,” said the 23-year old.
According to reports, George Russell is expected to be announced as Valtteri Bottas’ replacement for the 2022 F1 championship.
“Russell jumped into the car in Bahrain and basically was already, from lap one, making it very difficult for Valtteri. So you can only imagine; the more experience you gain in that car and the more you get accustomed to it within the team, naturally, you’re going to be becoming faster,” Verstappen added.
Talking of his own experience at Red Bull as a newbie alongside Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen showed how Russell could get much more experience and improve at Mercedes with Hamilton as his team mate.
“When you do your first race, you are guided by the team about set-up direction because you just don’t know what what to do really, initially, with the car.”
“I remember my first race at Red Bull the thing I said was we’ll just follow a bit what Daniel is doing because I have no clue about how this car needs to go quick. Because even though, of course, F1 cars look pretty similar, the way of setting them up can be very different.”
Verstappen is very confident with Russell’s ability.
“Already what you could see, the performance he did in in Spa was really good. Of course, they set up the car a bit more for wet conditions but nevertheless, to do that in a Williams was very impressive. So I do expect him to do very well if he gets that.”