Lewis Hamilton vs George Russell: Sky F1 pundits on 'exciting' 2022 Mercedes line-up and title aims
"George Russell has to be going for the championship, doesn't he? That's the other thing Lewis Hamilton has to deal with"; Sky Sports F1 pundits Anthony Davidson, Karun Chandhok and Ted Kravitz debate the all-British new Formula 1 partnership
Last Updated: 21/01/22 2:09pm
George Russell is relishing his big Formula 1 chance this season and Lewis Hamilton will have his hands full battling his young Mercedes team-mate for the title, believe the Sky Sports F1 pundits.
In a partnership that pitches a rising F1 superstar against the sport's most successful and famous driver, Russell has joined Hamilton to form Mercedes' eagerly awaited all-British line-up for 2022's all-new era.
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Russell, after three years effectively on loan at Williams, has already started his pre-season work with the world champions and, according to Sky F1 expert and Mercedes simulator driver Anthony Davidson, is "super keen".
"It's great to see, he's so full of energy and this is his big moment, isn't it?" said Davidson on a special edition of the F1 Show.
"His chance to step into, hopefully for his sake, a car that can run right at the sharp end and with Lewis Hamilton as your yard stick, the best in the business to measure yourself against.
"There's nothing more that a driver like George wants than to go head to head with Lewis with the same equipment, and this is the time you can really see if you're good enough."
Davidson added that Russell, 23, and Hamilton, 37, "will be racing hard, of course" and Sky F1's Karun Chandhok agreed that their partnership was the "most exciting thing going into this season".
"Is George going to be surprised by how good Lewis is? Or is it going to be the other way around?" pondered Karun.
Ted Kravitz, meanwhile, believes that - while the pecking order may be reset this year due to the overhauled rules and cars - Russell will be aiming for a dream championship in his rookie Mercedes campaign.
"Russell has to be going for the championship, doesn't he?" said Ted. "If you're in a Mercedes, you have to be going for the world championship."
Hamilton hasn't been beaten over a season by a team-mate since Nico Rosberg's title triumph in 2016, and Ted argues that Russell provides another major headache for the seven-time world champion this season.
Hamilton, whose place on the grid has still not been officially confirmed for 2022 as he and Mercedes wait over the FIA's inquiry into last season's Abu Dhabi decider, has been partnered with Valtteri Bottas for the past five seasons but Russell is expected to provide a sterner test.
"That's the other thing Hamilton has to deal with," added Ted.
"He has to get over the pain of Abu Dhabi, and he needs to be reassured by the FIA that everything is going to be fair. And then he needs to deal with a hotshot new team-mate, and deal with Max Verstappen, who's going to be high on confidence of course.
"It's such a big job for Hamilton."
Russell consistently overdelivered during his time with Williams, while he also shone when filling in for Hamilton in the Mercedes in 2020 in Bahrain.