Hamilton "still the benchmark" despite Russell's "bright future" - Wolff
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has dismissed renewed claims from critics that Lewis Hamilton's success is only driven by the fact he has been in the best car for many years.
George Russell's exceptional debut weekend for the team standing in for Covid-hit Hamilton has naturally sparked debate as to how a 22-year-old can come within 0.026 seconds of snatching pole and be on the cusp of a maiden race victory but for heartbreaking issues that unfolded in the second half of the Sakhir GP.
That has resulted in talk of Russell now joining the team alongside Hamilton from 2022, although many observers are hoping for a change of tack on the line-up for next year, even though Valtteri Bottas is contracted.
Wolff, though, is adamant that Hamilton deserves all the credit he has so far received in amassing his seven titles and numerous records.
"I think Lewis Hamilton wins so much and so many titles because he is the best driver in the best car at the moment," explained Wolff.
"We are very humble about it because it is not a given that we give him the best car and that is why we have a positive influence when the car works well to be a part of his success, and we have a negative influence when our car doesn't work.
"So it is never won alone, it is never the driver that makes all the difference and it is never the car that makes all the difference. It is the combination of the two.
"Lewis is still the benchmark, he is the best race driver out there. He has proven that with his multiple records and we must not be carried away at this stage by a phenomenal drive from a new kid who has a bright future in Formula 1."
Wolff has stated that on the back of Russell's performance the team "need to see what the future holds". He added: To be honest, I haven't made up my mind what that means for us."
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