Hamilton’s new deal gives Russell confidence Mercedes will win again

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Mercedes driver George Russell says his team mate’s decision to extend his contract is a sign the team will be stronger in the years to come.

The team confirmed today Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be retained as Mercedes drivers over the next two seasons.

The pair have raced together since the start of the 2022 season, but have only won one grand prix in that time – Russell’s victory in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Speaking to media including RaceFans after the extension was announced, Russell said the fact Hamilton had signed to continue alongside him was an encouraging sign for the team’s future prospects.

“I think it is extremely important to continue with the two of us with the relationship we have,” said Russell.

“You sometimes see when there’s a change of driver pairing, the dynamic shifts slightly and it can upset a few things internally. We know that we’ve never had any issues in that regard whatsoever.

“There’s a healthy competition that’s been there since day one, but we push one another in the same direction. We’ve got similar feedback with regards to the car, which also helps the designers push in one direction.”

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Russell also draws encouragement from Hamilton’s commitment to the team. “For me, to see Lewis continuing is so important. It shows the belief he’s got in the team as well.

“I’ve got the belief in the team, but this is a guy who’s won 100 races – he doesn’t need to continue. He could happily hang his boots up with everything he’s achieved. But he wouldn’t stay if he didn’t believe that the team was capable of winning again.

“So I think that reinforces the confidence that I had in the team. But it’s definitely a boost for everybody back at the factory and all of the partners and everybody to see that Lewis still wants to continue and believes in the team.”

While Hamilton finally committed to stay at Mercedes by signing his contract extension last week, Russell admitted his contract had been signed “earlier this year” during a “very quick process”.

“I don’t think it took more than two hours’ worth of conversations – just one evening before dinner,” Russell explained. “So it was pretty straightforward, never in doubt either way.

Russell, who joined Mercedes as a junior driver in 2017, said he felt he was almost “married” to the team.

“I’ve been part of this team since I was 17 years old as a driver in Formula 3. Toto [Wolff] made it very clear; win F3, you’ll get into F2, win F2, you’ll get a drive in F1, do a good job with Williams and you’ll be in a Mercedes. And if you’re a Mercedes, you’ve got a good chance of winning championships. So it was pretty straightforward in that regard.

“I think that consistency’s so, so important to to build upon. We are in that cycle at the moment of getting back to the top. So really, really proud to continue with the team. This is just the beginning.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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