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George Russell

Russell reveals his plan for Hamilton after Bottas warning

George Russell may have already proven that he has what it takes to get behind the wheel of a Mercedes, but this season he will go head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton for the first time in equal cars.

Russell Barcelona
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

George Russell has revealed how he will tackle his first season as a full-time Mercedes driver as he prepares to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

The 24-year-old has been made to wait for a drive in a top F1 team after spending three years impressing with backmarker team Williams.

He placed in the points four times for the historic team, even claiming a podium, despite often being sat behind the wheel of a machine that was one of the slowest on the grid.

This year he could be armed with a car capable of winning races - if the pace of the Mercedes displayed during F1's first pre-season test in Barcelona is anything to go by - offering the youngster a whole new challenge.

He will also do battle with seven-time World Champion Hamilton in equal machinery, one that former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas says he sees no driver winning for some years to come.

Russell to stick with the approach that got him to Mercedes

So what is Russell going to do differently this year as he prepares for what promises to be his toughest teammate battle yet?

"The answer is nothing because the process and the routine I've had up until this point is what led me to get this drive in the first place," replied Russell, speaking to select members of the media including RacingNews365.com.

"I'm going to sleep the same, I'm going to eat the same, I'm going to train the same, because I feel like I was doing my absolute maximum, my best, to give me the best possible shot at the Mercedes seat in the first place."

He added: "If I feel like I could be doing more this year, I would have been doing it anyway. I think it's important not to over-analyse, or not to change too much of a system that has been working for me.

"It may be very different for someone else but, for me, I feel like it's working and I want to continue what I built over the past four or five years."

Russell will not be copying Hamilton across the pre-season

Russell will be going down his own path as he prepares for the 2022 season, sticking to what he knows works for him as F1 gears up for the trip to Bahrain.

The sport will touch down in Sakhir during the week commencing 7 March, before cars return to the track on 10 March.

And the following weekend will see the season begin with an opening race at the Bahrain International Circuit that will reveal more secrets as to who is quick and who is not for 2022.

Russell said: "Lewis is a fighter; he's a racer. His absolute main priority is to be the best version of himself when he hits the track in Bahrain for race one.

"He's far more experienced than I am. He knows what it takes to be a World Champion and he knows what preparation he needs over the course of pre-season to prepare himself best for that first race.

"Everybody's different, you know? I'll have a different approach probably to Lewis and he'll have a different approach to another driver, and that's [the case] between all of the Formula 1 drivers.

"You need to learn what is best for you and respect how each individual does that."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the first pre-season test

At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona, Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track developments so far.

F1 2022 Barcelona pre-season test RN365 News dossier

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