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Formula 1

Hill confident Russell can reach Hamilton's 'mystical' level

Damon Hill says George Russell will have to raise his level if he wants to compete with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season, but reckons the youngster has the ability to do so.

Russell Hamilton Spa Belgium 2021
To news overview © Mercedes

Having raced against several F1 legends during his time in the sport, Damon Hill is confident that George Russell has what it takes to compete against Lewis Hamilton next season.

Mercedes recently made Russell's move to the team official, with Valtteri Bottas departing for Alfa Romeo after five years at the Silver Arrows.

Hill thinks the young Briton will quickly realise how much he has to raise his level to compete against Hamilton given his experiences at Williams in the 1990s.

"There's another level. I found that out myself," 1996 World Champion Hill told Sky Sports.

"There are drivers who are quick. I got promoted on my ability, but when I came up against guys like Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna, you quickly realise, 'Oh boy, they are on another level'. It's kind of mystical what they are able to do.

"I think George has got the talent to do it."

Russell expects a hard but respectful fight with Hamilton next season, and Hill believes Mercedes will be keen to ensure things don't become rocky after the tumultuous years the team had with Nico Rosberg partnering the seven-time World Champion.

"I think Mercedes would like to have a good public image of the team," Hill added.

"I don't think George is someone who's going to go at it the same way that Nico did.

"I think Nico decided he had to kind of destabilise – he's almost admitted that – and psychologically work on Lewis, and he succeeded, you have to say.

"All these drivers want to win."

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