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.”