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Formula 1

Button: Mercedes signing Russell would put pressure on Hamilton

2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button believes that Mercedes signing George Russell for 2022 would put a lot more pressure on Lewis Hamilton than he's had in recent seasons.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Jenson Button believes that the dynamic between the two drivers at Mercedes will change dramatically if the team opt to sign George Russell for 2022 to partner Lewis Hamilton.

As previously reported by RacingNews365.com, Russell is expected to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as Hamilton's teammate, although the move hasn't been confirmed by the team.

If Mercedes do sign Russell, Button feels it'll increase pressure on Hamilton for the first time in years.

Button was teammate to Hamilton at McLaren a decade ago, with the duo quite evenly matched during their three years together, and Button reckons there will be pressure on both drivers to perform from the outset.

"For George, it puts more pressure on his shoulders, because he's going into a team that has won multiple World Championships, every championship in the hybrid era," Button told Sky Sports.

With Hamilton having had a subservient Bottas as his teammate since Nico Rosberg's departure from the sport at the end of 2016, Button doubts Russell will play the same role.

"For Lewis, it puts pressure on his shoulders, because he's never had a young hotshot come into his team that he's had to beat," Button pointed out.

"It's a very different dynamic from what we've seen with British drivers before as team-mates, it was Lewis and myself, so I'm really excited for that fight if it happens.

"It will be great for Lewis, because it's another challenge for him."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hinted that the move is on, but stopped short of confirming that his intention is to bring Russell to the Brackley-based team.

"You need to go through the process, do one step at a time, and then announce when there is something to announce," Wolff is quoted by Sky Sports.

"The process is to make sure that everybody is in a good place and all contracts are signed."

Having had to cope with the several years of turmoil brought about by the feuding Hamilton and Rosberg, while going head-to-head for the titles between 2014 and 2016, Wolff said that he, and Mercedes, have learned from the situation, suggesting a reluctance to return to that type of dynamic.

"All personalities are different and also the situation between the two team-mates is the people and their past," said Wolff. "So it's something we have learned.

"I personally have learned from the [Alain] Prost situation with [Ayrton] Senna. I spoke to Prost about it. Then I was learning on the job with Nico and Lewis. I think if we were to run in a situation that we have drivers battling it out then I think we can benefit from the learnings."

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