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Russell to make it "very difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes - Verstappen

Russell to make it "very difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes - Verstappen

F1 News

Russell to make it "very difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes - Verstappen

Russell to make it "very difficult" for Hamilton at Mercedes - Verstappen
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Max Verstappen expects George Russell to "make it very difficult" for Lewis Hamilton in F1 if the drivers are partnered at Mercedes in 2022.

Russell is expected to be announced as Hamilton's team-mate in the coming week after revealing he has been told of his future.

Verstappen is embroiled in a tense title fight with Hamilton, with just three points separating the two drivers going into the Dutchman's home race this weekend at Zandvoort.

Asked what he thought would change in the dynamic at Mercedes if Russell was to be promoted, Verstappen pointed to the Williams driver's cameo for the Silver Arrows in Sakhir last year as proof he will create issues for the seven-time champion.

"If he joins then for sure, he would make it very difficult for Lewis," said Verstappen.

"He jumped into the car in Bahrain and basically he was, from lap one, making it very difficult for Valtteri.

"You can only imagine the more experience you gain in that car and the more you get accustomed within the team, naturally you will become faster.

"When you do your first race, you are guided by the team about set-up direction. You just don't know what to do really for the car."

Verstappen confidence high for Russell against Hamilton

Verstappen then reminisced about the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, his debut with Red Bull and a race he won after Hamilton and then team-mate Nico Rosberg infamously collided.

"I remember my first race for Red Bull," added Verstappen. "I said we will just follow a bit what Daniel [Ricciardo, his them team-mate] is doing because I have no clue about how this car needs to go quick.

"Even though F1 cars look pretty similar, the way of setting them up can be very different, so yeah, for sure, I am very confident [Russell will do well]."

Referring to the Briton's remarkable qualifying display in the wet for Williams in last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, he said: " You can see already the performance he did at Spa was really good.

"Of course, they set the car up for wet conditions but nevertheless, to do that in a Williams was very impressive so I do expect him to do very well if he gets that seat."

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