Russell rubbishes rumour of rift with Hamilton after Sakhir

George Russell has dismissed a suggestion he was no longer on speaking terms with Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton after deputising in Sakhir, saying their relationship is unchanged.

Russell rubbishes rumour of rift with Hamilton after Sakhir

Hamilton was forced to miss last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19, prompting Mercedes to draft in junior driver Russell from Williams for the weekend.

Russell produced a stunning display on debut for Mercedes despite minimal preparation, qualifying second and leading the majority of the race before finishing eighth due to a pit error and a late puncture.

The performance added to calls for Russell to one day move up to the senior Mercedes squad, potentially as early as 2022 when both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas are out of contract.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was recently asked in an interview with Austrian newspaper Österreich about a rumour that Hamilton and Russell were not on speaking terms.

Wolff said in the interview that he was unaware of any rift, but recognised the competition between the older and younger generations in F1.

Asked directly ahead of this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix about the rumour, Russell made clear that his relationship with Hamilton remained unchanged, and that nothing should be read into them not speaking specifically about the Sakhir race.

“I think the question towards me was did you speak to Lewis after Bahrain, and no, we didn’t speak, as we wouldn’t speak after any other race,” Russell said.

“We are racing against each other. If we see each other in the paddock, we would speak. We’ve seen each other this year, a little fist bump along the way, and that’s the same as it’s been since 2019 and last year before the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“My relationship towards Lewis is the same as it is with a lot of the drivers up and down the paddock, which is completely fine.

“So there’s no hard feelings and no issues between myself and Lewis.”

Read Also:

Russell is out of contract with Williams at the end of the season, adding to the suggestions that he could step up to Mercedes’ squad for next year, particularly off the back of his display in Sakhir.

Mercedes has always stressed its first port of call when discussing plans for 2022 would lie with current drivers Hamilton and Bottas.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he had given any consideration to life outside of the Mercedes umbrella for 2022 should a senior seat not be available, Russell said the idea was not “even crossing my mind at the moment”.

“They have their faith in me, I have my faith in them, and time will tell,” Russell said.

“It’s been clear since day one since 2016 when I signed for Mercedes, do the job on the track and the opportunities will come, and that has been the case through GP3, F2, and then with my career in Formula 1.

“Obviously we signed the three-year deal [with Williams] back in 2018. Let’s wait and see. At the moment, that thought hasn’t even crossed my mind.”

shares
comments

Related video

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again
Previous article

Alonso unsure if he'll race in the Indy 500 again

Next article

Verstappen wants talks over FIA's 'messy' F1 track limits policing

Verstappen wants talks over FIA's 'messy' F1 track limits policing
Load comments
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021