‘No idea’ if Russell better than Bottas – Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton says he isn’t sure if George Russell will be a tougher teammate to beat than the departing Valtteri Bottas.

Earlier, the seven time world champion made it clear to Mercedes that he wanted Bottas to stay – but was ultimately overruled.

When asked what influence he had on Toto Wolff’s decision, Hamilton said at Monza: “Not much.

“I was asked for my opinions about Valtteri and George, and I gave it to them. But in the end it wasn’t my decision.”

For his part, 23-year-old Russell insists he is heading from Williams to Mercedes to compete “on level terms” against Hamilton.

“That was made very clear to me,” he insisted.

“Equally, I know how tough it’s going to be. Mercedes have had clear experience of a poor dynamic within the team and they’ve made it absolutely clear that they don’t want a repeat,” said Russell.

Hamilton, who infamously clashed with Nico Rosberg last decade, says it’s not a certainty that he will suffer a similar fate as he grapples with the much younger Russell.

“History has shown it can work – and that it can’t,” said the 36-year-old.

“It’s a difficult one to navigate through but we have experienced it and learnt from it and should be well set moving forwards.”

As for whether he is expecting Russell to be a faster challenge than Bottas, Hamilton answered: “All I know is that George is very fast.

“Whether he will be faster than Valtteri, I have no idea.”

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