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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff plays down fears that Lewis Hamilton will clash with new team-mate George Russell this year, as he insists the 'measure' of the seven-time world champion is 'wrongly questioned'

Daily Mail
Daily Mail
 2022-01-25

Toto Wolff has played down fears that Lewis Hamilton will clash with his new Mercedes team-mate George Russell this year, insisting that the 'measure' of the seven-time world champion is 'wrongly questioned'.

Russell has joined the Formula One powerhouses from Williams, and will replace Valtteri Bottas in their second seat on the grid in 2022 - where it is expected that he will push Hamilton as they bid to bounce back from last year's disappointment.

Hamilton has clashed with team-mates Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg in the past, and some pundits have predicted that he will endure a similarly feisty relationship with young hot shot Russell when the duo make their return to the track.

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Toto Wolff has played down fears Lewis Hamilton will clash with George Russell at Mercedes
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Mercedes chief Wolff also insisted the 'measure' of Hamilton's character is 'wrong questioned'

However, Mercedes boss Wolff has looked to wave away these concerns, and believe they are not a fair reflection of Hamilton's personality.

'I would wish that we had two lightning-fast drivers fighting for victory,' Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport, when asked on what he expects from his new pairing.

'And if not, then we need these drivers to get our car back on the winning track.

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Russell has joined the F1 powerhouses from Williams and is expected to challenge Hamilton

'The measure of Lewis is often wrongly questioned. Even after the events in Abu Dhabi, he immediately congratulated Max [Verstappen].

'Lewis only wants one thing: fair competition on the track. We will deliver that.'

Russell, 23, is yet to win a grand prix, but did enjoy a second-placed finish at the Belgian Grand Prix last season for Williams, a career-best achievement.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is facing an uncertain future in the sport, in the fallout of the dramatic season finale in Abu Dhabi, which saw Verstappen crowned champion.

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Hamilton was left dejected after Red Bull's Max Verstappen clinched a dramatic title in 2021

An investigation has been launched by the FIA, and Hamilton has not broken his silence, leading to suggestions that he may sensationally choose to retire instead.

Pre-season testing will begin in Barcelona in less than a month, with Mercedes poised to launch their new car for the 2022 campaign on February 18.

Meanwhile, Verstappen appeared to make a subtle dig recently at Hamilton by claiming he will need 'luck' and a 'dominant' team to match the Brit's heroics.

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Verstappen's victory has left Hamilton considering whether to continue racing in Formula One

His triumph at the Yas Marina circuit came about in controversial fashion, triggering a cloud of confusion over whether Hamilton will continue to race.

Verstappen was allowed to pass Hamilton on fresh tyres on the last lap of the decisive showpiece due to a change in the safety car procedures.

Hamilton may yet decide to see out the remainder of his two-year contract, however, which is valued in the region of £70million.

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