Mercedes’ head of F1 driver development Gwen Lagrue believes the team is no longer hunting for a driver to replace seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Lagrue feels everyone at the Silver Arrows has full faith in George Russell and already know for a fact that he will be the man to lead the team forward for years to come.
Hamilton’s future is currently undecided, with rumours linking him to a position at Ferrari, while others believe that his time is up and he will retire from the sport altogether when his contract expires at the end of the season.
In his debut season at Mercedes, Russell took everyone by surprise and ended with more points than Hamilton. He also managed to get the team’s only race win in the season with a triumph in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Speaking with Autohebdo, Lagrue explained the team’s current opinion of Russell based on the progress he has made since linking up with them last year.
“You always know that when you have the car to win, not before,” he said.
“Nevertheless, what I have observed is that each time he has had a window of opportunity, he has managed to do something transformative.
“That’s very reassuring. If we are able to give him the car, he will do the right thing.”
The Mercedes chief also believes Russell will eventually be fighting for world championships.
“If the question is: do we see in George a successor to Lewis to win races and fight for a title? The answer is clear: yes,” he said.