F1: Russell can win after Hamilton exit – Lagrue
(GMM) If Lewis Hamilton leaves Mercedes, the Brackley based team would be confident it is in more than capable hands with George Russell.
Rumors this week suggest seven time world champion Hamilton, 38, may be in contact with Ferrari president John Elkann about a big-money switch for 2024 and beyond.
If it happens, team driver development advisor Gwen Lagrue is confident Briton Russell, 25, will be able to win.
“You only know that when you have the car to win, not before,” he told the French publication Auto Hebdo.
“But what I have observed is that each time he has a window of opportunity, George has managed to do something transformative.
“That’s very reassuring,” Lagrue added.
“If we are able to give him the car, he will do the right thing. So if the question is ‘Do we see in George a successor to Lewis to win races and fight for a title’, the answer is clearly yes.”
However, former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher does not believe the Hamilton-to-Ferrari narrative that is making international headlines at present.
“I think it is very likely that Lewis will stay with Mercedes,” he told f1-insider.com.
“He’s not getting any younger and has a tough nut to crack in teammate George Russell, but I don’t think that’s why he’s giving up his Mercedes home and jeopardizing his future cooperation with the group.
“Especially since, according to team boss Toto Wolff, it is only a formality that Hamilton will extend eventually,” Schumacher added.
However, 6-time GP winner Schumacher is also not completely ruling out a Ferrari move for Hamilton.
“What speaks in Ferrari’s favor is Hamilton’s long and close relationship with Fred Vasseur,” he said. “He was Lewis’s team manager when he was karting.
“Hamilton also drove for Vasseur’s teams in the junior formulas,” Schumacher added. “But Lewis also has a close, trusting relationship with Toto Wolff so in the end I don’t really believe he will go.”