Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he “couldn’t wish for any better pairing” than Lewis Hamilton and George Russell and is not surprised with how well the latter has started the season.
Seven-time Formula 1 champion Hamilton has been outshone so far by new team-mate Russell, who has finished in the top five in all five races this season.
Russell is currently fourth in the drivers’ standings, 23 points ahead of Hamilton.
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The pair were seen battling for position for the first time in Miami last time out, but Wolff is pleased with their relationship.
“He has integrated very well,” Wolff said of Russell.
“It is almost like he has been here forever and I’m really happy about the two of them, how they interact, how respectful they are about each other.
“Even the situation on Sunday where they raced each other and it was getting a bit ‘I’m not leaving any room’ and then ‘Okay, I’m going to find another way and get the position back’.
“I think this is how the two of them as team-mates should race each other. So I am happy how he has settled in.
"I enjoy seeing them working together, the level is high from both of them. That has put us in a decent situation in the constructors’ championship, so I couldn't wish for any better pairing."
Russell spent two seasons with Williams before joining Mercedes this season.
While he was expected to play second fiddle to Hamilton, Wolff says there was never “any doubt” that he would be a strong driver.
"When you look at George's track record in winning the title in F3, in his rookie year, and then an F2, we knew that he was very good," said Wolff.
"Then obviously the Williams school added its part, so we were never in any doubt that he would be very good.
"And you can see that it's materialising on the track. I like his approach very much. He's very rational, whether he is fastest in P2, or whether he's 11th, it’s just about applying the science and trying to make the car faster."
Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher thinks Russell is a step up from Hamilton’s former team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas was with Mercedes from 2017-2021 but rarely challenged Hamilton for race wins.
“Russell is now a different calibre for Lewis than Bottas was and, above all, he is a consistent calibre,” Schumacher told
“He is also someone who picks people up – just like Hamilton too. He makes a likeable and very buddy-like impression in the team.
“[Russell] kind of outweighs Lewis a little bit in every way. He can just handle it better and that bothers Lewis, I’m pretty sure.
“That’s clear, he’s an egotist after all, as we all were as racing drivers, and I was as well, I admit that. In any case, I must say, it will bother him. One hundred percent!”
The next F1 race is the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 22.
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