Hamilton debunks Villenueve’s Russell theory in honest assessment of teammate’s Mercedes start

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has lavished praise on new recruit George Russell, expressing his happiness at how fast the youngster has settled in at the Silver Arrows.

Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas to end a trophyless stint for the Finnish driver at Mercedes.

The third race of the season which was held at Albert Park in Melbourne saw Russell pick up his first podium for his new team.

Although it is still just early days, his consistency till now sees him only behind Leclerc in the drivers’ standings.

Russell has displayed great skill and has made the transition from Williams to Mercedes almost seamlessly.

The ease at which he has settled in has been most impressive for Hamilton.

Hamilton aims sly dig at Bottas

Valtteri Bottas. Credit: planetf1.com

“It’s good to be with someone younger, you know? I was just saying earlier how old Valtteri is! He’s got an old soul,” Hamilton said.

The dig aimed at Bottas was very much on purpose as he knew the Finnish driver was in attendance.

Bottas, who has great respect for Hamilton, was quick to answer back. “You’re older than me, man!”

In the four years that the duo raced together, Hamilton and Bottas finished 1-2 in 22 races.

This has undeniably made them one of the most successful pairings in the history of the sport.

Their relationship was a far cry from the toxic environment that had originated while Rosberg was at the team.

A big reason for that was, of course, that Bottas was never truly challenging for the title.

Although things have not turned sour between Hamilton and Russell yet, this theory may be put to test if Russell somehow launches a sustained challenge for the championship.

The Hamilton-Bottas partnership

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. Credit: skysports.com

Hamilton spoke about his good memories with Bottas while he was his teammate.

“It was obviously an amazing journey that Valtteri and I had, working together, and George was already a part of the team before that, so he’s blended in really well,” Hamilton said.

“I think George has been great, I think he’s been great for the team. We were surfing the other day together [and] he’s blended really well into the team.”

Hamilton issues Villeneuve response

Jacques Villeneuve. Credit: planetf1.com

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve had said that Russell was coping better than Hamilton since he had the experience of driving on far inferior cars.

Villeneuve felt Hamilton had been dominating the circuit in recent years largely based on the superior nature of his Mercedes challenger.

Hamilton issued a sharp response to this claim.

“I find it amusing, some of the things that come out of his mouth,” said Hamilton.

“I remember my first go-kart was fifth-hand. I’ve driven lots of different cars and found myself relatively adaptable, so I should be good.”

Read more: Former world champion tips Hamilton to ditch Mercedes for rival team – “He is sulking and getting embarrassed by Russell”

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