Lewis Hamilton believes George Russell is a future star of F1 and has even tipped him to be a future world champion. The Williams driver was on course for his first point at the last race in Imola before he crashed behind the safety car.
Hamilton is convinced the youngster has a bright future despite the error which surprised many.
Russell is funded by Mercedes and many think he will eventually succeed the 35-year-old at the team when he chooses to leave F1.
After the race Hamilton sent a message of support to Russell and ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix this weekend he has explained why.
“Looking at those in the early phases of their Formula 1 career, I’ve been there,” said the six-time F1 world champion.
“Many of us have been there and I know what it’s like to have experiences like that.
“I just wanted to show that it’s ok, don’t beat yourself down too much.
“He’s going to do it his own way anyway because that’s how we are wired as racing drivers but I just wanted to show some support.”
Alonso recently backed Russell to be a big success in F1 in the future and thinks of the young generation he is the one to watch.
He said: “From all of them, George Russell is the one that surprises me every weekend. How he’s driving the Williams. Zero mistakes. I’m really surprised about his natural speed.
“So if I have to say one name, Russell for the future is going to be my pick.”
Hamilton is in agreement with his old McLaren team-mate Alonso and thinks Russess has huge potential to be a star in F1.
“What he’s been able to do similar to if you look at Alonso [at Minardi in 2001] and drivers coming into one of the teams that are further back,” he said.
“Having an opportunity to grow and improve, and lead a team and make mistakes, all those different things.
“This year he’s just been great how he’s handles everything and what he’s done with that car to put it into Q2 quite often and really delivering great results. Really impressed with his race craft and how he’s growing.
“He really is the future. There are several drivers that are the future of this sport but he’s one of them and I’m really excited to see his progression.
“I have no doubt that he has the potential to be a future champion.”
Hamilton will look to win his seventh world championship this weekend and match Michael Schumacher.
If his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas does not score eight points more than him, Hamilton will be crowned world champion.
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