Lewis Hamilton picks who he wants to win the F1 world title when he retires

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has lavished praise on his future team-mate, George Russell, admitting he hopes to pass the baton to his fellow Brit when he retires from Formula One in the future. Russell replaces the outgoing Finn Valtteri Bottas next season in a much-anticipated all-British line-up at Mercedes.

The 24-year-old has been excelling this year in an uncompetitive Williams car, scoring his first points for the team in Hungary and pulling off a stunning one-lap display at the rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix to qualify on the front row, just a week after receiving the call from boss Toto Wolff that he would be stepping up.

Russell was also impressive in Russia after qualifying third in Sochi, knowing his fate was now set at Mercedes next season.

The British-based German team were stuck between a rock and a hard place, with the raw talent of Russell eventually outshining the stability of Bottas for 2022, and Hamilton says he expects big things from the Briton when he retires.

“You’ve seen George is hugely respectful,” Hamilton told the BBC. “He’s a super-talented young man and I think there’s a huge amount of respect already going in and we’ve got a nice balance at the moment.

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“But he’s going to want to be quick, he’s going to want to show up and win, and do all those things that you do when you enter a new role.

“I remember in 2007 when I went up against [Fernando] Alonso. Of course, I wanted to beat him at the first race, so I appreciate and expect George to have that mentality, otherwise, he’s not a winner, you know?

“But I’m in a different place. I really want to see him succeed. There’s going to be a point where I don’t continue in this sport and, you know, he’s my team-mate and he’s gonna be the next Brit that I want to see win a world championship.

“So while we are going to be competing and I want to win on track, I really hope I can have a positive influence on how he conducts himself within the team.

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“Whether it’s the time he commits to engineering or how he churns through the data or even just how he drives on track.”

As a pillar of the sport, Hamilton has dominated the championship since the start of the turbo-hybrid season in 2014, with one world title under his belt already.

The 36-year-old has signed a deal to stay at Mercedes until the end of 2024, with many suspecting he could call time on his career just shy of 39.

But Russell will face one of the trickiest tasks of his career alongside the seven-time world champion, who is currently wrapped up in a fierce comeback fight to beat Max Verstappen for an eighth.

Verstappen has an eight-point leading heading to the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia before the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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