Drivers must maintain Mercedes ‘harmony’ – Russell

George Russell expects his “good relationship” with teammate Lewis Hamilton to continue in 2023 – even if they are wheel-to-wheel for the title.

Felipe Massa, who so nearly beat seven time world champion Hamilton to the title in 2008, says the 38-year-old’s status came under threat last year as Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes.

“Lewis suffered a lot in comparison to George Russell, who had a great season,” Massa told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“As you get older and your young teammate shows such results right off the bat, the pressure builds,” said the 41-year-old Brazilian, who retired in 2017.

“I hope Lewis can still show what he is worth and stop the people who doubt him,” Massa added.

According to Russell, however, the chance that he and Hamilton will ultimately descend into a bitter internal team war at Mercedes is low.

“Lewis and I have a good relationship,” said the Briton, who finished 35 points ahead of Hamilton last season.

“If you look back, he’s had teammates close to his age and they’ve fought for that team leadership position,” Russell said. “But between us, there’s no leader.

“Lewis is further along in his career and I am at the beginning of mine. He’s had all the success and nothing more to prove,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

“We’re helping each other, trying to improve the car. We want to bring Mercedes back to the top. It’s a very different dynamic to Lewis and Fernando in the past, to Sebastian and Mark (Webber), to Senna and Prost – two drivers of a similar age fighting against each other.

“If we fight for the championship, I see no reason not to continue as it has. I think we are both mature and experienced enough to know that what the team needs is harmony.

“If we break our good relationship, it’s not going to benefit Mercedes and in fact it can compromise us to the point where we may not have a car to win races.”

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