George Russell won’t hope for Lewis Hamilton’s retirement - because he wants to beat him, says Williams boss

·2 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Any notion of Lewis Hamilton retiring from Formula 1 this winter will not please George Russell - because the Mercedes newcomer wants to beat the seven-time world champion.

That is the view of the Brit’s old boss, Williams chief Jost Capito, who has backed his former driver to compete with Hamilton in the upcoming campaign.

He told RTL: “It would be bad for George because then he couldn't beat him and I think he would like to beat him. I won't begrudge George that.”

The German team principal is not personally concerned with Hamilton’s future, which has been speculated on after his controversial title defeat in Abu Dhabi, but said that his departure may provide a chance for the next generation.

“It's always said that there aren't enough places for young drivers,” he noted. “Then I think if someone has been world champion seven times, he's actually done enough and could make room for a boy. Why not?”

One up-and-coming racer is Russell, 23, who will look to mix it with Hamilton and Max Verstappen in his debut year at the Mercedes wheel. Capito believes it will not take him long to adapt to life at the reigning constructors’ champions.

“He's been a Mercedes driver for years,” Capito added. “He's also someone who's very good in the simulator and uses it very well to develop. And he's been in the Mercedes simulator for a while now, too.

“He doesn't get in the car and find that it’s completely new to him, he will have driven thousands of kilometres in this car in the simulator.

“I think when he gets in the car for the first time, he will be absolutely great.

“He can't sit down and say, 'I'm sure I can beat [Hamilton] from the start'. [Their duel] will certainly be exciting.”

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