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Hamilton backs Russell to be future F1 champion

Hamilton backs Russell to be future F1 champion

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Hamilton backs Russell to be future F1 champion

Hamilton backs Russell to be future F1 champion

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes protégé George Russell has the potential to follow in his footsteps and become a Formula 1 world champion.

Hamilton further cemented his status in F1 history by securing a seventh championship with his outstanding drive to victory in the Turkish Grand Prix.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Russell has moved up to third on the list of drivers for most races without a point, which now stands at 35. Only Charles Pic [39] and Luca Badoer [50] are ahead of him.

Yet Mercedes-backed Russell, who is poised for a third season with Williams next year, is widely regarded as one of the most talented drivers on the grid.

The 22-year-old, however, has the full support of fellow Briton Hamilton who said: "I think what he's been able to do - similar to if you look at [Fernando] Alonso [with Minardi], coming into one of the teams further back - is an opportunity to grow, improve, lead a team, and make mistakes, all those different things.

"I think this year he's just been great how he's handled everything, and what he's done with that car, to put it into Q2 quite often, and really delivering great results, so I'm really impressed with his racecraft and how he's growing. "He really is the future - as several drivers are the future of this sport - but he's one of them I'm really excited to see his progression, and I've no doubt he has the potential to be a future champion."

Hamilton was one of the many drivers who messaged Russell in the wake of his recent accident behind the safety car during the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola.

After climbing from the cockpit of his car, Russell was then witnessed sat leaning against a fence, thumping the ground with his fist in frustration.

After the race, Hamilton reached out to Russell on social media to help the 22-year-old through what was undoubtedly one of the worst moments in his career.

"Having seen how many people reposted that, I should probably have messaged him directly," joked Hamilton. "But it's positive I guess.

"I think it was important I looked at those in the early phases of their Formula 1 career - many of us have been there, and I know what it's like to have experiences like that.

"I just wanted to show him that's it's okay, don't beat yourself up too much. He's going to do it his own way anyway because that's how we are wired as racing drivers, and I just wanted to show some support."

Before you go...

Hamilton wow factor continues to "surprise" Mercedes - Bonnington

Istanbul thriller "not the answer" for Formula 1 - Ricciardo

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