Toto Wolff is cautious George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s friendship as team-mates might not final when the “highest stakes” are concerned.
When Russell changed Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes for the 2022 season, all eyes had been on the Silver Arrows to see how the younger Briton would cope along with his new team-mate.
Becoming a member of a high staff, not to mention one which had been dominant for the previous decade, is a tricky ask however Russell’s activity was made no simpler by the very fact the yardstick by which he could be measured went from a driver with a highest profession end of P7 to a seven-time World Champion.
However as a substitute of any animosity, the 2 had been in a position to bond over a typical enemy, the W13. Because the Mercedes staff discovered themselves now not preventing for race wins not to mention championships, it allowed Russell to excel in an underperforming automobile – one thing he had carried out so properly at his earlier staff, Williams.
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Within the meantime, he was in a position to construct a rapport with Hamilton and one which was not targeted on competing in opposition to one another. Workforce boss Wolff believes that’s the reason their relationship appears to be one of the crucial supportive on the grid.
“I feel the largest opponent for George and Lewis was the automobile, not the team-mate or different drivers,” Wolff advised Motorsport.com. “And that was definitely advantageous in some respects.
“They used totally different options and set-ups, even rather a lot on some events, with the goal of exchanging impressions and helpful info to return out of the state of affairs we skilled.”
Vacation over. Nice to be again to it. 👊 pic.twitter.com/mjZaxN4gHN
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) August 16, 2022
The 50-year-old has had expertise of those type of pleasant relationships going bitter earlier than although as Hamilton’s rapport along with his childhood good friend turned team-mate Nico Rosberg deteriorated to the purpose of them throwing caps at one another within the cooldown room following a race. In that regard, Wolff is cautious of the pure “pressure” that comes when competing on the high.
“When the goals change into races and championships, I can inform you whether or not the respect I see at this time between the 2 will show to be a predominant issue,” Wolff stated.
“When taking part in for the best stakes I feel it’s pure to have some pressure, but when individuals essentially respect and esteem one another then it would by no means go too far.”
Mercedes nonetheless stay a way off these “highest stakes” given Hamilton’s 112-point deficit to championship chief Max Verstappen and Russell’s 100-point hole, in addition to their lack of ability to have received a race to this point this season. However given the newly-announced regulation adjustments, they might be again on the highest step earlier than the season is out.