Leclerc tells Mercedes-bound Russell to 'enjoy it'

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari with George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing.
© XPB 

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has told George Russell to savour his forthcoming promotion to the top tier Mercedes team, and to use the opportunity to learn from the best in the sport.

Russell already has 52 Grand Prix starts under his belt since making his race debut for Williams in the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. He secured his first championship points when he sat in for a COVID-hit Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir GP at the end of 2020.

Long considered the red-hot favourite to succeed Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton's team mate, Russell has been on a hot streak this summer earning points in three of the last four outings with Williams, including a maiden podium at a rain-hit Belgium.

With his seat at Mercedes now official, Russell has been receiving congratulations and advice from his peers including Ferrari rival Leclerc who served his own brief apprenticeship with Sauber in 2018 before heading to Maranello.

“To George I don’t have much to say,” Leclerc said when asked if he had any advice for his fellow 23-year-old. "He knows what he needs to do. It’s an amazing opportunity for him."

Leclerc boiled down his advice to a simple philosophy: "just to enjoy his time there and not put too much pressure on himself."

Leclerc's first two seasons at Ferrari put him alongside four-time world champion, so he has a good idea of what awaits Russell when he lines up alongside seven-time champion Hamilton next year.

"He’s in a very good position," Leclerc insisted. "Being like I was with Seb at the end, I had a multi-world champion next to me.

"And of course for us being young, it’s a great opportunity to show what you can do and learn from the best."


Leclerc proved a notably quick study, beating Vettel in the drivers championship by 24 points in their first season together and by an even larger margin in 2020 which was a problematic year for Ferrari as a whole.

Vettel left the team at the end of last year and moved to Aston Martin over the winter, where he has just been confirmed as staying in 2022.

Asked if he had any advice for Hamilton to avoid a similar fate to his own against Russell, Vettel said that the reigning world champion would also have an opportunity to learn some new tricks.

"Lewis is old enough, he doesn’t need much advice," he told the media at Monza last week.

"Every situation is different," he added. "If you get to race with a new team mate, you always get stuff you get to learn on both sides as well.

“It was like that when Charles joined [Ferrari]," he said. "Looking back I enjoyed [it]. I’ve always been quite open and straightforward.

"I learned a similar way of working from Charles as well, so it was quite straightforward between us which was nice."

While Vettel has settled in well at this new team after an initially tricky transition, F1 journalist says that there's still some friction between him and his current team mate Lance Stroll.

"Aston Martin is the ideal place for Vettel given that his stock isn’t what it was in his glory years," Hughes wrote for The Race website this week.

“One small area of concern is that his dices with team-mate Lance Stroll have not always been without rancour," he cautioned. “The switched-on intelligence of Vettel and the domineering boss persona of Stroll are not the most natural fit

"But so long as they can each fully appreciate what the other is bringing and find workable parameters to work between, it should all be good."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter