Formula 1 enters a new era with a swathe of new regulations coming into play for 2022 and Mercedes are shaking up their driver line-up in time for that, too, with Russell replacing the outgoing Valtteri Bottas to sit opposite Hamilton in the Silver Arrows’ garage.
Certainly, it’s going to be fascinating watching the two Brits work together but also push one another along, with Russell clearly a strong character that has full intent on challenging for victories and championships now he is set to be given a car capable of doing so.
Indeed, the last time we truly saw two Mercedes drivers battling for the championship was in 2016 with Nico Rosberg partnering Hamilton and, of course, their duel had a negative impact, at times, on the Mercedes environment as they sought to get one over the other.
Wolff, though, is not worried about a repeat from next year on with Russell, with him explaining that he and the team are far better prepared to deal with any flare ups that may occur:
“I believe that we as a team can now manage this much better than perhaps back then , when we slipped into the unknown.
“The dynamic between George and Lewis will be completely different.
“You have the wizard and the sorcerer’s apprentice, and I think this division of roles is clear to both of them.
“We have always allowed the duel and the competition between the drivers. We assume that George will improve and show speed, but at the same time we expect the team to perform well.
“When things get rough, I have to make sure that I smooth the road.”