Former F1 World Champion Mario Andretti has lauded George Russell as one of the standout performers of the season so far and is keen to see how he fares alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2022.
Russell is currently contesting his third F1 season with Williams but will make the step up to the Silver Arrows in place of the departing Valtteri Bottas, who has raced alongside Hamilton since the 2017 campaign.
Andretti noted Russell's impressive stand-in performance for Mercedes at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, and his displays at Williams, which leave him feeling convinced that the young Briton is title-winning material.
"Well, the one that impressed me, who has really shown that he can be a future champion, is George," Andretti told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview, as he looked back at the first half of the season.
"By having that opportunity in Bahrain and stepping up the way he did, and even with Williams, [for example] at Spa, with the conditions… rain is always a great equaliser and he showed his skills by doing what he did there.
"That's [something] to be looking forward to, how he will fare next to Lewis next year."
While he believes that Mercedes will "in some ways always favour" Hamilton, Andretti expects Russell to be given equal equipment.
"If Mercedes give freedom, which I think they already do, especially during the start of the season, it's up to the individual driver to show what they can do and what they can bring to the team," Andretti continued.
"I'm sure that Mercedes in some ways will always favour Lewis, and justifiably so, but at the same time I'm sure George will have the same equipment.
"I think you've just got to wait for those things to unfold. We'll see what happens."
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