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Russell suggests Hamilton "saved" F1 career

Russell suggests Hamilton "saved" F1 career

Russell suggests Hamilton "saved" F1 career

Russell suggests Hamilton "saved" F1 career
Ian Parkes

George Russell has joked with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton that his fellow Briton helped save his F1 career.

The Mercedes rookie joined the Silver Arrows after a three-year F1 education at the back of the grid with Williams and instantly proved himself worthy of the seat with nine consecutive top-five finishes despite the relative uncompetitiveness of the W13.

A maiden victory in Brazil was the highlight in a season that saw Russell finish fourth in the drivers' standings, ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and, crucially, seven-time champion Hamilton.

Hamilton's participation had been under threat when he went through a social media blackout in the wake of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but since then, the desire for another five years with Mercedes has been indicated.

Asked if he was surprised by his team-mate's hunger to race into his 40s, speaking to GPFans in an end-of-season interview, Russell said: “No.

"When you see the level he's performing at, he looks young, he's fit, he's in shape. He's enjoying racing.

“He's also enjoying this journey that we're on as a team to bring Mercedes back to the front.

“I've got a lot to thank him for because had Lewis not been my team-mate this year, people would've thought very differently about me this year.

“I joke with him that he probably saved my career by staying on in Formula 1 this year because had he retired, and I had the exact same year as I've done this year, I'm sure perception would've been drastically different.”

Additional reporting by Ewan Gale

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