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George Russell could challenge for F1 title in first year with Mercedes, Toto Wolff claims

The Independent
The Independent
 2021-10-07

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There are still seven rounds to go in the 2021 Formula 1 season, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is already looking ahead to next year and the new partnership between Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell .

While the former is the reigning champion and top of the current drivers’ standings, the latter is still with Williams ahead of a switch at the end of the season, at which time he will replace Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s team-mate .

Russell has earned 16 points this season including a podium finish at both the Belgian and Russian Grand Prix, and Wolff feels his talents mean he’s capable of delivering an early charge to win the title, even ahead of Hamilton.

“[He has to first] consolidate the proof he can deliver top performances like in Bahrain 2020 on a regular basis to qualify for a championship,” Wolff said.

“That could also happen in the first year and would be a luxury problem that we would then have to solve.”

With Hamilton being such a legendary figure in the sport having clocked up 100 career wins recently , Wolff likened their potential relationship to that of a “wizard and sorcerer’s apprentice”.

Speaking earlier this year, Russell had claimed he feels “ready to fight for World Championships and win races”, proclaiming that once he joins Mercedes he will “be giving it everything I’ve got”.

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