George Russell has explained why he doesn't care whether Lewis Hamilton is racing for or against Mercedes next season. The 25-year-old isn't short of confidence and is determined to cement himself as one of the leading contenders on the F1 grid for years to come.
Hamilton's future is once again under the spotlight during an F1 season as his contract expiry at the end of 2023 grows closer. Drawn-out negotiations have sparked speculation over a potential blockbuster switch to Ferrari in 2024.
But amongst the media storm, Russell is paying little attention. His focus is firmly on toppling Hamilton as Mercedes' No 1 driver and becoming a world champion.
Ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend, the 25-year-old explained that Hamilton staying at Mercedes doesn't matter in his quest to become F1's top dog.
He told the Mail: "I don't care at all whether Lewis stays or Lewis goes because I believe I can beat anyone on the grid."
Earlier this week, Hamilton played down talk that he was leaving the Silver Arrows at the end of the season. And he poured cold water over Ferrari speculation as discussions with team boss Toto Wolff continue.
"Naturally, when you are in contract negotiations, there will always be speculation, and ultimately unless you hear it from me, then that's what it is," Hamilton said.
"My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto [Wolff], and we are almost at the end of having the contract ready."
Russell may care little about who his Mercedes team-mate is, but he couldn't help but admit that competing with Hamilton had boosted his confidence since leaving Williams.
Russell added: "You couldn't choose to be in a better position than to go up against Lewis.
"What a way to test myself. While we're in this position, he is invaluable to me. There can be no excuses on either side. He's pushing me. I'm pushing him. I am here to beat everybody.
"I never had any self-doubt, and having these 15 months alongside him has reinforced that. My confidence has grown.
"We have a good relationship, and it would be great if we could turn this around and help the team to winning ways."2023-05-26T21:23:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd