Russell recalls meeting "superhero" Hamilton for the first time

George Russell has recalled his first meeting with Lewis Hamilton as "like meeting a superhero" ahead of their partnership as Formula 1 team-mates next year at Mercedes.

Russell recalls meeting "superhero" Hamilton for the first time

Mercedes announced on Tuesday that Russell would be joining the team for the 2021 season, replacing Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas as a team-mate for seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Russell has been a member of Mercedes' junior programme since 2017, and has impressed during his time at Williams in F1 over the past three seasons.

PLUS: How Russell left Mercedes with little real choice over his F1 promotion

The announcement led to pictures emerging on social media of a Russell as an 11-year-old meeting Hamilton, who was then racing for McLaren.

 

In one of the pictures, Russell can be seen waiting to meet Hamilton and get his autograph at a karting event in 2009. Twelve years later, they would be preparing to be F1 team-mates.

Asked by Autosport about his first meeting with Hamilton and the picture, Russell recalled how awestruck he was to meet a world champion driver, helping to strengthen his desire to race in F1 one day.

"Lewis turned up to PFI [kart track], I think it was at the Formula Kart Stars, I was racing in Comer Cadet at the time," Russell recalled.

"It was like meeting a superhero, when you are a child of that age, especially a racing driver and you meet a Formula 1 driver, you don't think these people are human. That was a really special moment for me.

"To be honest, I even remember it now, which, it's quite odd to remember a memory back from when you were 11 years old.

"So in a way, it feels pretty surreal to be lining up alongside him next year.

"I guess when I did meet him, that was when I thought I want to be like him, I want to be a Formula 1 driver, and I want to win world championships."

George Russell, Williams FW43B, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

George Russell, Williams FW43B, Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Hamilton felt confident that Russell would be able to bring some fresh energy to Mercedes, being "part of that younger group" of F1 drivers.

PLUS: The challenge Russell will pose to Hamilton’s Mercedes legacy

"I think the young talent that's coming through is so great for the sport and is the future of the sport," Hamilton said.

"New, fresh blood in our team is going to be great, obviously because I'm the oldie there.

"I think that definitely will energise the whole team knowing they have a new youngster coming through, who's super hungry, driven, and will be pushing the team forward."

shares
comments

Related video

F1 considering standalone sprint race plan for 2022

Previous article

F1 considering standalone sprint race plan for 2022

Next article

How to become a CNC Machinist in F1 - Qualifications, skills & more

How to become a CNC Machinist in F1 - Qualifications, skills & more
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021