Nico Rosberg ‘still not sure’ on George Russell taking Lewis Hamilton’s place at Mercedes

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Former Mercedes star Nico Rosberg is ‘still not sure’ if George Russell will be able to compete with Lewis Hamilton at the Silver Arrows. The 2016 champion claimed we are yet to see a ‘spark of absolute brilliance’ from Russell across his first three races for his new team.

Rosberg has also raised fears Russell may not be able to reach the level needed to challenge for world championships once Hamilton inevitably retires. Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “It’s not an easy situation.

“They were expecting to fight for race wins and now suddenly they’re very far behind from the other guys and they have a difficult car so that’s a bit of a setback and a tough situation for George to enter into. Nevertheless, the first three races he’s done really well. He’s been very close to Lewis as we see him second in the championship.

“He’s really maximised all the points possible in the first three races so for that thumbs up. I’m still not sure yet if we’ve been able to see him be on Lewis’ level and take Lewis’ position at Mercedes in the future and become world champion.

“This I’m not sure yet. I haven’t really seen that spark of absolute brilliance but of course it’s early days.”

Russell has the early bragging rights at Mercedes with the former Williams man ahead of Hamilton by nine points at thai stage. Part of the gap was down to Hamilton’s shocking Saudi Arabian Grand Prix where the seven-time champion was knocked out in Q1.

He recovered to finish 10th but only brought home one championship point. Meanwhile, Russell has been able to secure three successive top five finishes including his second career podium in Australia.

Ahead of the weekend, Russell shot down any rumours of a rivalry between the Mercedes pair.

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He told Sky Sports F1: “I think we are at different stages of our careers, there’s no hard feelings either way.

“From my side, I’m 24 years old going against the greatest of all time. If he finished ahead of me, obviously I don’t like it but I won’t cry and sulk about it. Equally, from Lewis’ side, he has achieved so much – he’s a seven-time World Champion, he holds records.”

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