Lewis Hamilton’s George Russell comments show why Mercedes must sign Williams star

George Russell ‘gutted’ to miss out on Sakhir GP victory

Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign a new contract at Mercedes and his comments in November on George Russell have underlined why the Silver Arrows are playing hardball in negotiations. The hold up is said to be over the length of contract on the table.

Mercedes were impressed with Russell in the Sakhir Grand Prix when he stepped in for Hamilton after his positive coronavirus test.

The 22-year-old looked on course to win on two separate occasions until a pit stop mistake and a puncture cost him any victory.

Russell did recover to ninth and recorded the fastest lap of the race in impressive fashion.

In response to the performance, Hamilton backed the Williams star to be a world champion in the future.

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“I believe Russell is the future of F1 and he can become a world champion,” Hamilton said.

“This year has been fantastic for how he has managed his driving and for what he has done with Williams, putting them in Q2 quite often.

“He achieved excellent results. I am impressed by his ability to manage races and how he has grown over the past two years.

“What he did, in a way, is similar to what Alonso did in his early years in F1.

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“Many talented drivers have to start on a smaller team to have the opportunity to grow, improve, and be able to make mistakes.”

Hamilton’s comments have underlined to Mercedes just why they must get Russell in the car.

He is the future of the sport and by opting for a short-term contract with the seven-time F1 world champion they are giving themselves more options in the future.

Russell has also been linked with replacing Valtteri Bottas for the 2022 season.

The Finn is out of contract and needs to get closer to Hamilton this year if he is to retain his seat.

In 2020 Hamilton thrashed the rest of the F1 field and finished a whopping 124 points ahead of team-mate Bottas.

F1 returns on Sunday, March 28 with the Bahrain Grand Prix with testing set to take place at the same location a couple of weeks before.

Hamilton will look to break Michael Schumacher’s record and become an eight-time F1 world champion.

Russell faces another season with Williams but will hope the car is more competitive this year.

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