George Russell insists he’s ‘on an equal playing field’ with Lewis Hamilton and is confident there will be NO team orders at Mercedes this season because ‘they trust us to go out there and race fairly’
- George Russell claims he and Lewis Hamilton are ‘on a level playing field’
- Russell says he has ‘a very open relationship’ with seven-time world champion
- He admits Mercedes are currently behind rivals but is confident they’ll be back
- Ferrari dominated in Bahrain last week as they managed a memorable one-two
George Russell says he and Lewis Hamilton ‘are on a level playing field’ at Mercedes and is adamant there will be no team orders for anyone to defer to the other driver.
Russell, 23, is now team-mate to Hamilton following Valtteri Bottas’ departure at the end of last season.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton is on the hunt for another title following last season’s disappointment but Russell says the 37-year-old will not receive preferential treatment over him.
George Russell (left) says he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton (right) are on ‘equal playing field’
He told BBC: ‘We are on a level playing field.
‘There are no team orders, we have equal treatment totally and they [Mercedes] trust us to go out there and race fairly.’
Speaking about his relationship with Formula One’s most successful driver, Russell added: ‘We have a very open relationship.
‘I think because we are at very different stages of our careers there is a really strong mutual respect between us. We both recognise our fight isn’t with each other as it may be in some other teams.
‘For us, we both want to win but at the moment we are not in a position to be able to win, so we need to work together and push in the same direction to make sure our car goes faster.’
Last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain was dominated by Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc finishing ahead of Carlos Sainz to complete a one-two.
World champion Max Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez both retired as Hamilton managed a third place podium finish while Russell finished fourth.
Russell (front) finished a place behind Hamilton in fourth during the Bahrain Grand Prix
The season opener in Bahrain was dominated by Ferrari as they completed a one-two
Russell recognises Mercedes are currently behind Ferrari and Red Bull but he is confident his team will be back in full flow soon.
He said: ‘At the moment we know that if we do absolutely everything perfectly we still don’t have the pace in the car to fight with the Red Bull and Ferrari,’ he said.
‘We don’t really know what our timeline is. We are working as hard as possible to resolve our issues but the only way we find out if are going to resolve them is when we jump on the track.
‘I trust in my team and if anyone can overcome these issues I am sure Mercedes can.’