F1: Hamilton plays down risk of Russell conflict

(GMM) Lewis Hamilton does not think his relationship with teammate George Russell will become strained in 2023.

This year, 24-year-old Russell arrived at the works team to replace Valtteri Bottas – and not only out-scored seven time world champion Hamilton but became the only Mercedes race winner in 2022.

Hamilton, 37, insists he wasn’t surprised.

“I saw what he did at Williams, which was already impressive,” he is quoted by motorsport-total.com. “And this year he surpassed himself.

“What he did this year was really impressive. He got the most out of it in every race,” Hamilton added.

However, Hamilton said his fellow Briton was well-prepared for the task.

“In previous years he was with us more and more often, and he already knew the engineers. That made it easier for him to adapt,” he said.

“He was the perfect reinforcement for our team, and he brought a lot of positive energy. We communicate well with each other on equal terms and have a lot of mutual respect.”

And Hamilton does not expect that to change in 2023, even if Mercedes is back in the championship fight with Red Bull and Ferrari.

When asked about the potential for conflict, he insisted: “I don’t believe that will happen.

“I’m experienced enough, and I’ve been with this team for so long that I can handle these kinds of challenges. It won’t be a problem,” said Hamilton.