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Mercedes

Sky F1 presenters predict what may happen in Hamilton/Russell fight

With a mouth-watering teammate battle in prospect at Mercedes, some of Sky Sports F1's presenters have predicted what may unfold between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Hamilton Russell
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A thrilling new dynamic at the Mercedes Formula 1 team is one of the main talking points heading into the 2022 F1 season, as seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is joined by George Russell.

Russell, the 2018 Formula 2 Champion, steps up after three years at Williams, having already made his debut with Mercedes as a stand-in for the unwell Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, and could pose a very different challenge after Hamilton's five years alongside Valtteri Bottas.

The big question marks are whether Russell will be able to provide a consistent threat to Hamilton, and if the seasoned veteran will have his hands full trying to stay ahead of the young upstart.

Some of the experienced broadcast team at Sky Sports F1 have weighed in on the subject, attempting to predict what may unfold within the Mercedes camp.

"George has shown lots of promise in a Williams and we all wondered how he was going to go when he got a chance in the Mercedes," Anthony Davidson said.

"We saw a glimpse of that in Bahrain [2020] of course when Lewis wasn't able to race and George immediately did more than I expected.

"I think, by right, he should be right there in terms of speed, and I'm just fascinated to see how that relationship is going to evolve between himself and Lewis. It's kind of like the apprentice versus the master.

"I think, speed-wise, they're both going to be very comparable, and that's exciting."

What do Chandhok and di Resta reckon?

Along with Davidson, former F1 drivers Karun Chandok and Paul di Resta offered their thoughts.

"My gut feeling is that George will be a bigger challenge to Lewis than Valtteri Bottas was in recent times," Chandhok said.

"Valtteri is a very quick driver on his day, especially in qualifying, but, over the last two or three seasons, it became clear on a Sunday that Lewis was just on a different level to him.

"I think George is working really hard and you can see there's an energy about him and he's hungry. He knows if he can get close to or beat Lewis Hamilton, his life is made.

"It's a golden opportunity. Most importantly, he knows it."

Di Resta suspects that, as good as Russell is, the young British driver may find it difficult coping with Hamilton's sheer relentless speed.

"George is absolutely superb in qualifying, there's no doubt he'll pull laps out and surprise Lewis," he commented.

"But I think people underestimate Lewis and how relentless he is in the race. He's an absolute animal when it comes to what he can get out of the car.

"It also depends on what Lewis' mindset is. He seems in good spirits, I think he's still definitely at his prime, and I think he will want to prove a point, more than anything, that he can win this eighth world title."

Hill: Hamilton is the worst teammate a driver can have

Damon Hill, 1996 F1 World Champion, appeared to side completely with Hamilton, saying that Russell may find it tough coming into Mercedes as the interloper.

"It's going to be very exciting to watch," said Hill.

"Lewis is probably the worst teammate you could possibly hope for in the sense – he's just so good. And he's at home, and you're coming into his team!

"But, very much in George's favour, he's shown he's a very eager and talented driver."

Meanwhile, David Croft thinks Russell may come out on top of the fight, as Sky's lead commentator suggested Russell's mentality will win out.

"I think he will give Lewis a bigger challenge," he argued.

"I'm not saying Lewis has had it easy against Valtteri, he's a fine driver, but I think George has that extra hunger, he knows the team very well, isn't there to play second fiddle, and will take every opportunity he can to show he's a future World Champion.

"He'll have to raise his game, though, as he's fighting Lewis on equal terms. George has got the right mindset, and I think he'll succeed."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Previewing the 2022 Formula 1 season

Ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Mike Seymour and Thomas Maher preview the 2022 season.

F1 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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