David Coulthard predicts that George Russell will get "worn down" by Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but insists the trial will ultimately help the young gun grow.
Russell will move from Williams to the Brackley squad next season, a break that many believe will lead to a changing of the guard at Mercedes.
But Coulthard notes that Russell has never had a competitive teammate to fend off during his three seasons at Williams where he has raced alongside Robert Kubica and current colleague Nicholas Latifi.
Speaking to Channel 4, Coulthard was asked whether the relationship between Hamilton and Russell will "kick off" next season.
"It will, absolutely," replied the 13-time Grand Prix winner. "It will be the making of George up against the driver of a couple of generations.
"This is where George Russell becomes the making of a future world champion. Because he hasn’t been pushed by any of his team-mates, it will be very different with Lewis.
"In the beginning, he will just be young and full of energy. He will be fresh and then he will get worn down by the relentlessness of Lewis, and that’s the point at which he will grow as a man."
At Monza recently, addressing the prospect of racing alongside Hamilton and the speculation that his rivalry with the seven-time world champion will generate some fireworks, Russell was confident that Hamilton and himself will race each other hard but always "respectfully".
"Throughout my junior careers there were a number of drivers who I was very close with on pace and very often very close with on track," Russell said.
"There's no reason why there would be any falling outs or anything. I'm sure we're going to race each other respectfully, but hard as well at the same time, as Lewis and Valtteri have over the past five years.
"Lewis and I have got a really great relationship. We're at different stages of our careers and we have got one goal next year which is to develop the car and push it forward and make sure that we, as two drivers, give ourselves the best chance of having the fastest race car.
"The only way we're going to do that is by working together to develop that."