Valtteri Bottas is not expecting George Russell to be able to beat Lewis Hamilton in the immediate future.
The Finn was replaced by Russell at Mercedes for the 2022 season, and the young Briton now faces the challenge of going head-to-head with Hamilton.
Whilst Bottas believes that Russell will adapt well to the Mercedes environment - given that the 24-year-old has been a member of the outfit's Young Driver Programme since 2017 - he finds it hard to see anybody getting the better of Hamilton in the same car.
"I don't see anyone else beating Lewis in the near future in the same machinery," Bottas told SunSport.
"George will adjust well because he has been with Mercedes for some years. But beating Lewis is not easy. I have experienced that."
Bottas praises Hamilton's consistency
Bottas raced alongside Hamilton at the Silver Arrows for five years, and in that time was left impressed by Hamilton's ability to remain consistent.
"It is his consistency in his performances," Bottas said.
"Every driver has form that is a little bit up and down, but his baseline for performance is just so high. Even when he has a bad day it is not too bad. It is his consistency over the season."
Hamilton's adaptability is another skill that Bottas noted in their time as teammates.
"Another of his key strengths is his ability to adapt to different conditions, the skill to react to changes, be it set-up or whatever," the new Alfa Romeo driver added.
"This and his race-craft. His tyre management is a special skill and all these things are combined with talent."
"I can be proud that I've been able to beat him"
Whilst Bottas was never able to get the better of Hamilton consistently over the course of a season, the Finn is proud that he was able to occasionally beat the seven-time World Champion.
"He puts in the work, which not many people see, so he is hard to beat," Bottas said of Hamilton.
"I can be proud that on my day, I've been able to beat him. But not consistently enough to beat him over a season."
Bottas is now embarking on a new chapter in his F1 career with Alfa Romeo, and looks forward to having the opportunity to lead a team.
"When I joined Mercedes, it was difficult for me to take the lead because of Lewis being there," Bottas explained.
"With him being in the team, it was always difficult for me to take that lead role. So now it is different and a fresh start for me – and having that lead role is a good feeling.
"A part of me is always going to miss working at Mercedes. Now I have started looking back at my time there, I have tried to take all the positive moments we had.
"There were great moments and I enjoyed working with Lewis and Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss], but I am also really excited for my new chapter.
"I'm sure with the experience I have with Williams and after five years at Mercedes, I will be able to help the team move forward. I feel really comfortable with my role. Yes, there is a responsibility and I have commitments to the team, but it is exciting."
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