Russell would make things "difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes

Max Verstappen believes George Russell would make things “very difficult” for Lewis Hamilton if he were to become the seven-time Formula 1 world champion’s Mercedes teammate next year.

Russell would make things "difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes

Mercedes is expected to make an announcement in the near future revealing who will partner Hamilton at the team next year, having spent the past few months deciding between Russell and Hamilton's current teammate, Valtteri Bottas.

Russell is widely expected to get the seat, having been part of Mercedes' junior programme since 2017 and starred during his time with Williams in F1 since debuting in 2019, as well as impressing in a one-off appearance for Mercedes in last year's Sakhir Grand Prix after Hamilton was sidelined by COVID-19.

Hamilton's former teammate Nico Rosberg, the 2016 F1 world champion, told Motorsport.com on Wednesday that he thought things could get "more heated" at Mercedes if Russell were to become Hamilton's teammate, posing a greater challenge than Bottas currently does.

Asked by Motorsport.com for his thoughts on how the potential move would change the team dynamic at Mercedes, Verstappen said he thought Spa runner-up Russell would "make it very difficult for Lewis".

"He jumped into the car in Bahrain, and basically he was already from lap one making it very difficult for Valtteri," Verstappen said.

"So you can only imagine the more experience you gain in that car, and the more you get accustomed within the team, naturally you're going to be becoming faster.

"When you do your first race, you are guided by the team about set-up direction, because you just don't know what to do really, initially, with the car. Even though of course F1 cars look pretty similar, the way of setting them up can be very different.

"So yeah, for sure, I'm very confident. Already what you could see, the performance he did in Spa was really good. Of course they set up the car a bit more for wet conditions, but nevertheless, to do that in a Williams was very impressive.

"I do expect him to do very well if he gets that seat."

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W11

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W11

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen currently finds himself in a close battle with Hamilton for the F1 drivers' championship, sitting just three points behind after his half points victory at Spa last weekend.

The Red Bull driver will enter his home grand prix at Zandvoort this weekend looking to move back to the top of the standings for the first time since before the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It will be the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985 after significant redevelopment of Zandvoort paved the way for the track's return to the calendar, capitalising on the fervent support for Verstappen.

"They've done an incredible job setting this all up, first of all hosting a grand prix, but also now how you look at the whole complex as a whole," said Verstappen.

"It looks very cool, and I hope we can have a good fun weekend.

"Of course you want good results, but I think that we can enjoy ourselves on Saturday once the fuel comes out and we can see how fast we can go around this track."

shares
comments
Alonso: Personal and Alpine progress key to F1 future beyond 2022
Previous article

Alonso: Personal and Alpine progress key to F1 future beyond 2022

Next article

Raikkonen: ‘No plans’ beyond family after retiring from F1

Raikkonen: ‘No plans’ beyond family after retiring from F1
Load comments
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022