Russell rubbishes rumors of bad relationship with Hamilton

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George Russell denied on Thursday at Imola that he was no longer on speaking terms with Lewis Hamilton, insisting there were no issues between the Mercedes driver and himself.

Rumors that the relationship between the two drivers had gone sour since last year's Sakhir GP, when Russell substituted for the seven-time world champion and almost won the race, emerged in the paddock in Bahrain.

And the speculation increased on the back of a comment from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff who was asked about the gossip by Austrian newspaper Osterreich. Wolff said that he unaware of any rift between Russell and Hamilton, but added that there were clear differences between the young and older generation of drivers in F1.

However, Russell set the record straight on Thursday at Imola, insisting there had been no change in his relationship with Hamilton.

"I think the question towards me was did you speak to Lewis after Bahrain, and no, we didn’t speak, as we wouldn’t speak after any other race," Russell said.

"We are racing against each other. If we see each other in the paddock, we would speak.

"We’ve seen each other this year, a little fist bump along the way, and that’s the same as it’s been since 2019 and last year before the Bahrain Grand Prix."

Russell is widely regarded as Hamilton's successor at Mercedes, perhaps as early as next year. However, many believe the 23-year-old will be filling a seat at the Brackley squad next season regardless of whether Hamilton decides to retire or not.

"My relationship towards Lewis is the same as it is with a lot of the drivers up and down the paddock, which is completely fine. So there’s no hard feelings and no issues between myself and Lewis," concluded the Williams charger.

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