F1 pundit Davide Valsecchi has drawn comparisons between George Russell and some of his illustrious peers, as the British driver finds his feet at Mercedes.
While the W13 hasn't been able to join in the lead battle for race victories just yet in 2022, Russell's consistency in the first three rounds of the season means he is currently second in the Drivers' Championship.
Valsecchi, the 2012 GP2 Champion turned TV broadcaster, reckons that Russell is the real deal, and that the year ahead will allow him to show the full extent of his skills.
"This man is special. [He has] the same attitude of [Charles] Leclerc, [Max] Verstappen, and probably [Lando] Norris," Valsecchi told the F1 Nation podcast.
"Believe me, he's special. As soon as he jumped in [the] Mercedes in Bahrain , he was leading the race, he was going to take the victory.
"He was able to put his best performance in [on] the most important day of his life. When you are able to do this, from my point of view, you have the attitude to become World Champion in Formula 1 - that is my thought as a driver.
"So, at the beginning of the season after three races, he is racing [Lewis] Hamilton and is not destroyed every weekend like [Valtteri] Bottas or other teammates of Hamilton before him."
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Valsecchi highlights Russell's strengths
Valsecchi went on to explain where he feels Russell's greatest strengths lie, arguing that the Mercedes driver has a mental maturity that has impressed him the most.
"I really love him! I mean, as a driver, I think he is good. He has speed," he said.
"But his head is [his top quality]. In the managing of the races, he is even better than Norris, who, in Italy, we also consider a huge talent.
"In the lower categories, Russell was a bit better than Norris. I know that, on the head side, you can improve with experience.
"But he has an incredible capability to manage the race and the situation, he is always calm and patient like Hamilton showed us to be in the past. That is magnificent. He is very quiet when the situation is not good."
Valsecchi drew comparisons between Russell's calmness with his current situation, and that of Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, with the Spaniard having made a high-profile mistake in Melbourne while trying to make up for lost ground.
"Sainz wasn't quiet when he was in trouble in Australia," Valsecchi said.
"He was too passionate, and made a mistake, and was confused. Hamilton, when he's in the pack, is always racing well and waiting for a better moment. He's a master on that side.
"Russell has the same attitude. He's going to be World Champion one day, it is only a question of time."
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