George Russell 'gutted' to miss out on Sakhir GP victory
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George Russell has heaped praise on Lewis Hamilton for remaining at the very top of his game despite having the best machinery in F1. Hamilton’s success has been called into question over recent years because no other manufacturer has been able to build as quick a car as Mercedes.
The Silver Arrows gave Hamilton the tools to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven world titles.
Red Bull’s title challenge Max Verstappen has regularly put Hamilton’s achievements down to his car.
But Russell, who is hoping to join Mercedes for the 2022 campaign, believes his fellow Brit’s success is down to more than just his vehicle.
“The best drivers often find themselves in the best car,” Russell told Autocar.
“There is no doubt that Lewis has probably had the best car over the last few years, but in tricky circumstances, he’s the one who doesn’t drop the ball.
“He’s the one who can sometimes pull something out of the bag. So it goes hand in hand.
“If you’re a good driver, you can often pull more from the car, but if the car is good, that enhances the driver as well. The package between them has been pretty formidable.”
Hamilton is contracted with Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season after penning a two-year extension earlier this month.
Russell may get the chance to race alongside the 36-year-old if he replaces Valtteri Bottas at the end of the season.
“Everyone wants to go up against the best driver,” Russell explained. “Everyone believes in themselves, but for me, I’d love that challenge because the pressure would be off and I’d find myself in a win-win scenario.
“I’d go in with that mentality if I ever found myself up against one of the best drivers of all time.
“You have got nothing to lose – which I think is great really. That is the sort of situation that Sergio Perez finds himself in at the moment.
“He’s got no pressure because he’s got nothing to lose – and so you go out there and enjoy it, and show them what you can do.”
He added: ” I believe in myself and I feel ready to fight for victories and world championships.
“I had the massive challenge in Bahrain last year, being thrown in at the deep end with no preparation and no laps in the car.
“I think it has been proven how difficult it is to jump between cars and get up to speed. I felt far from up to speed for that race but we still managed to do a pretty decent job so I think I feel ready. Obviously.”
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