Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has claimed that Mercedes do not need to worry if Lewis Hamilton leaves them at the end of the season, as George Russell is "more than capable" of stepping up in his absence.
The three-time F1 race winner believes that in Russell, Mercedes have a driver who can be seen as the future of the sport – something they should perhaps keep in mind during contract negotiations with the 38-year-old.
"Mercedes are in a very lucky position because we are all very aware of what George Russell does," he told OLBG. "He has really stepped up and he has really put Hamilton under a lot of pressure.
"Russell is the future whatever we think of Hamilton, who we know is still good enough to win races.
"Russell is more than capable of being the driver to produce what Mercedes need and who will be very beneficial to them in the future."
'Mercedes' Spanish GP heroics might be a one-off'
Regardless of Hamilton's future in the team, Herbert believes that, in the short-term, the upcoming Canadian Grand Prix could prove to be a struggle for the Silver Arrows despite their improved performance in Barcelona.
"It is one damn race we are talking about," he added when asked if Mercedes are back on track after their Spanish Grand Prix double podium. "Let’s see what happens in Canada and the next couple of races.
"Monaco was pretty much the same old, it was better in Barcelona but we don’t know if it will be repeated. Max [Verstappen] at Red Bull is almost pretty much certain to win.
"Despite that improvement they are still a long way off the Red Bull. The pure speed of the Ferrari is there or thereabouts with Red Bull but they fall down when it comes down to the race. That can be sorted out."
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