Lewis Hamilton warned of ‘demanding’ George Russell as thrilling partnership looms

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Williams CEO and team principal Jost Capito has praised George Russell’s “demanding” work ethic as he shared an insight into what Lewis Hamilton can expect from him at Mercedes this season. After three seasons of apprenticeship at the Oxford-based team, Russell finally steps up to race alongside Hamilton at Mercedes as he replaces Valtteri Bottas at the team.

“I think George has huge respect from all the team members and he is demanding,” Capito said.

“If he wants to get something done on the car, he really pushes [for it], and if he wants to get something done in the team he is pushing but always in a very positive way.

“I never heard a bad word from him all year, still being very direct in what he wants and what he expects. I think that is a fantastic attitude of George.

“Nicky [Latifi] is very much the same, so character-wise they’re very much the same and everybody likes working with them.

“They’ve also created a very good relationship with George and with Nicky, but also what was very important for the team and that is George is not there, ‘I’m the better driver here so everything is done the way I want’.

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“He is really great team player as well. He knows that he wants to win and he wants to be the best, but he always is thinking about his teammate as well.”

In an underperforming Williams, Russell finally scored his first points for the team in Hungary in an emotional moment in Budapest.

Recounting a moment in the race from Russell, Capito reminisced: “Once in the race when he was behind and the strategy was that he pits first, he came on the radio and said, ‘let’s put the focus on Nicky and give the best for him’ and that was not he was asked for.

“Whatever he’s thinking about this during the race, he’s only thinking about the team in general and also about his teammate. I think his personal attitude is absolutely fantastic.”

The 23-year-old then went on a stunning run of form by qualifying on the front row at the rain-affected Belgian Grand Prix, just a week after receiving the call from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff about the promotion.

Russia was also a stand-out moment for the Brit after qualifying third in Sochi, raising Williams off the bottom of the table to finish eighth overall.

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The Brit is now set for his biggest challenge yet alongside the seven-time world champion.

“I think I’m pretty grateful for the difficulties that I’ve faced on the track throughout these years because quite often when you get in a faster car and a car that is more complete, things just naturally feel easier,” Russell said.

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“For us, we’ve had so many limitations, whether it’s been trying to get the tyres in the right window, the brakes in the right window, following other cars has been incredibly difficult really fighting and battling to hold on for positions.

“When a car is faster, often everything seems good. The strategy is always good if the car is fast. You start becoming luckier. These things start falling your way and I think, I feel, more of a rounded driver because of this.

“I often talk with my trainer about building this toolbox of experience and knowledge that I’m sure, throughout my Formula One career, I’m never going to have a car that’s the quickest year after year or the best year after year.

“But, if I do have a car that’s very difficult to drive, I’ve had these experiences that I can just go back into the toolbox and remember what I experienced prior to 2019 or these last few years.

“So, I feel pretty fortunate to have had this.”

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