George Russell excited by prospect of Lewis Hamilton signing new Mercedes deal

George Russell believes it would be a "really exciting" prospect to have Lewis Hamilton as his Mercedes team-mate for a few years longer.

That does, of course, depend on Hamilton agreeing to extend his contract with the team - and Russell not doing anything to jeopardise his own position.

But if the British duo drive as they have in 2022, and Mercedes provide them with a faster car than the W13, they can look forward to their share of success.

Hamilton is expected to pledge another couple of years to the Silver Arrows by signing a new deal during the winter, potentially taking him through to his 40s - by which time he will hope to have that record-breaking eighth Drivers' title in the bag.

"It's really exciting to have that potential of Lewis staying on for a number of years to come," said Russell.

"I think he has proven he's definitely not lifted his foot off the throttle pedal and he's definitely, [in] the last few races, performing probably better than ever.

"And that's really exciting for me to have the opportunity to be his team-mate, to go directly head-to-head with him and grow on this journey we are on together because it really does feel like a journey the two of us are on, along with the rest of the team, in trying to bring Mercedes back to winning ways.

"So I think we've got a really great relationship, a transparent relationship, and [it would] be great to be team-mates for a number of years to come."

What does the future hold for the Mercedes drivers?

When it comes to drivers you sense that, of the top teams, Mercedes are consistently the most assured about who they want in their line-up.

Since his arrival at the team in 2013, that has always included Hamilton, of course. As by far the sport's most successful individual over the last decade, his position has obviously never been under threat.

Toto Wolff was thrown a curveball when Nico Rosberg retired abruptly as World Champion in 2016, but the decision to hire Valtteri Bottas as his replacement was fully vindicated as the Finn won 10 grands prix, backed up Hamilton capably and left the team with a 100% Constructors' Championship victory record.

At the end of 2021 though, the time was right to say thanks and goodbye to Bottas as Russell was ready to take his place - he has proven as much this season with a hugely consistent set of results, finishing 17 of the 20 races so far between second and fifth positions.

He remains 15 points ahead of Hamilton, who has been arguably the stronger of the duo in the second half of the campaign after managing to extract more from the troublesome W13 than previously.

What Russell has done, at the very least, is buy himself some time. Even if Hamilton gets well on top in the intra-team battle in 2023, the younger Briton has more than enough credit in the bank to suggest he is a big part of Mercedes' future.

Russell - like Hamilton, obviously - could very much be a World Champion in the right car, even though he has yet to win a race.

The big question is what will Wolff do when Hamilton does eventually call it a day?

That may still be a few years off, leaving plenty of time for the choice to be made.

On past evidence though, it is a decision the Mercedes boss will get right.

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