Mercedes’ head of F1 driver development, Gwen Lagrue, has expressed his utmost confidence in George Russell as the rightful successor and the ideal Lewis Hamilton replacement, whether it be during Hamilton’s potential departure to Ferrari or when he eventually retires or leaves Mercedes. Lagrue firmly believes that Russell, who outperformed Hamilton in his debut season for Mercedes, possesses the exceptional talent and leadership qualities needed to fill Hamilton’s shoes and guide the team to continued success.
Russell, formerly with Williams, showcased impressive performance during his debut season for Mercedes, finishing fourth in the drivers’ standings with 275 points, surpassing his veteran teammate’s 240 points. Notably, Russell achieved his first-ever career Grand Prix victory, while Hamilton experienced the unfortunate feat of going winless throughout a full season for the first time in his F1 career.
Lagrue praised Russell for his ability to maximize the potential of the car despite Mercedes’ challenging progress since the 2022 regulations switch. He highlighted Russell’s transformative actions whenever he had a window of opportunity, emphasizing the reassurance it brings. Lagrue firmly believes that if given the right car, Russell will make the right choices and compete for victories.
Furthermore, Lagrue stated that he sees Russell as a successor and the ideal Lewis Hamilton replacement, someone who can win races and contend for championships. He confidently affirmed that Russell has what it takes to fight for world championships in the future.
As Mercedes continues to assess their options and plan for the future, the potential leadership transition from Hamilton to Russell emerges as a topic of intrigue and speculation within the Formula 1 community.