George Russell and Lando Norris ‘a cut above’ as young Britons hailed by Damon Hill

Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him

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George Russell and Lando Norris have been hailed as potential future F1 champions who can carry the mantle for British racers once Lewis Hamilton decides to retire. Damon Hill believes both “have got what it takes” to convert their obvious talent into a penchant for winning races and, hopefully, becoming world champion.

Hill knows a thing or two about what a racer needs to do to win the title, having done so in 1996.

It’s about far more than simply speed or the ability to get the best out of your car – you have to be mentally sharp and able to withstand the pressure that comes with a title battle.

That was demonstrated perfectly by Max Verstappen this season, who did not crumble under the weight of his titanic tussle with Hamilton and won the drivers’ championship for the first time.

The Dutchman is only 24 years old and has many more years to add to that first major piece of silverware.

But he is expected to have new rivals as the years go by, with the likes of Russell, Norris and Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc all tipped to achieve great things in the future.

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The British pair in particular carry many people’s hopes, as they can continue to make sure Britain always has a chance of winning the title even once Hamilton has called time on his own trophy-laden career.

Hill told Express Sport he believes both have the required mentality and skillset to live up to those hopes.

“I think there are a few people who you can point at and say: ‘These guys have got what it takes’,” he said.

“[Norris is] just a cut above, able to sail through difficulties. Both George and Lando are great racers, really good at when it comes to getting stuck into the race, and the qualifying pace is there too.

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“Running at the front is about other things, and not allowing them to interfere with your talent. That’s another challenge, but they both seem really smart kids and I’m sure they will be able to cope.”

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Norris appears to have improve year-on-year in terms of his maturity and racecraft, and is highly valued by his McLaren team.

He is yet to be given a car which can challenge for the title, but that could change as soon as next year with the new technical regulations leaving the balance of power on the grid in an unknown state.

It is expected to be the year that Russell could make an impact at the front, though, as he joins Hamilton at Mercedes.

The Norfolk-born racer leaves Williams to form an exciting all-British partnership with the Silver Arrows – presuming Hamilton chooses not to retire between now and the beginning of next season, as is the rumour.

Mercedes have been mostly untouchable in the hybrid era, and are expected to be the team to beat once again when the on-track action resumes in March.

If Russell does race alongside Hamilton, though, Hill has warned the younger Brit against going into his new team all guns blazing and immediately taking on his new garage partner.

“I don’t see it going wrong,” he said. “I think Lewis recognises that his timespan is shorter in the sport than George’s so he will want to play his part in giving him a leg up – not that he needs one, probably.

“It’s down to George and how he approaches it, I think. You can go into these situations and think: ‘Right, that’s the enemy over there and I’m out to knock spots off them’.

“That might not be the wisest thing to do with Lewis, I don’t think.”

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