Hamilton will 'work harder' to fend off Russell challenge


Lewis Hamilton expects George Russell to stake his claim with Mercedes next season, but the seven-time world champion is determined "to work harder" to fend off his future teammate's ambitions.

Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes from 2022, a driver with whom Hamilton has enjoyed a trouble-free relationship in the past five seasons that has contributed to the Brackley succession of titles since 2017.

But for many, Russell's move to Mercedes will take the championship winning outfit's inner-team rivalry to a whole new level. Hamilton recently said that he expects his new teammate to "bring the heat", and the Briton reiterated that view in Turkey last weekend.

"George, I imagine, is going to be similar to me when I got to Formula 1," Hamilton told Channel 4. "He’s going to be hungry, he’s got everything to gain nothing to lose, throw everything and the kitchen sink at it.

"That’s what I would expect, he will get amazing support from our engineers, he’s got an amazing amount of support to be welcomed in, and we will try to work as team-mates.


"There is respect there, but I know he is going to win races, I know he is going to be fast, I’m sure if we have got the package he will do a great job and there will be times where he is at the front and I’m okay with that.

"I’ll just work harder to make sure that it doesn’t happen."

Depending on the outcome of this year's campaign, Hamilton could head into next season as a record eight-time world champion, with more than a century of wins under his belt.

But taking his track record to new levels won't erode his drive or motivation.

"For sure, for sure, it’s crazy to think that I have that many wins, it’s crazy to think we have these championships," he added.

"I’m still super driven, I heard Stefano Domenicali said someone is going to break my records at some stage, which is totally expected, records are there to be broken.

"But then I was like ‘I better win some more races’ [laughs], so then it just gave me more drive, I’ve got to get back out there and just keep pushing."

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