George Russell believes Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff held "more respect" for teammate Lewis Hamilton when joining the Silver Arrows because of his own limited experience in the sport.
Wolff took over duties from Ross Brawn at the start of the 2013 season in conjunction with then-one-time World Champion Hamilton switching from McLaren.
The partnership proved to be the most successful in F1 history as Hamilton picked up another six titles to tie Mercedes predecessor Michael Schumacher's record of seven.
Russell joined Hamilton and Wolff as replacement for Valtteri Bottas last term after a three-year 'placement' at Williams having been a part of Mercedes' driver programme since the age of 16.
Asked whether he felt there was more of a paternal presence from Wolff towards him than the relationship between the Austrian and Hamilton, Russell told the Beyond the Grid podcast: "I'm not too sure to be honest.
"When Lewis and Toto were acquainted, Lewis was already World Champion, this megastar.
"There was perhaps more respect from Toto to Lewis when he joined because Toto was completely new to Formula 1.
"At the time, Toto was the rookie and Lewis was the household, massive name, whereas with myself, Toto signed me as a 16-year-old."
Wolff and Russell 'more as friends'
"They've always nurtured me along the way. advised me and helped me reach my full potential and our relationship has gone from - I am not going to say a paternal figure - but I would class ourselves more as friends now.
"Also with Susie [Wolff] and Carmen [Mundt], my girlfriend, we have a really great relationship, we spend a lot of time together doing activities together, dinner together, we see them all the time.
"So you know, he's my boss, but he's also a friend."