George Russell has denied reports he and Lewis Hamilton haven’t spoken since the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, after Russell replaced his fellow Briton following a positive COVID-19 test.
Hamilton was forced to miss the race after he fell ill with COVID-19, and Mercedes called upon Williams driver Russell to stand-in for the seven-time champion.
Russell went on to qualify second and passed team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the start to lead the race. He looked set for victory before a tyre mix-up and a puncture dropped him down the order. Russell recovered to finish ninth with the fastest lap to score three points.
The performance cast a shadow over Bottas, whilst some fans questioned Hamilton’s talent.
Media reports surfaced that quoted Russell as saying he and Hamilton hadn’t spoken since, but the 23-year-old confirmed that his comments had been misquoted and there was no issue between them.
“I think the question towards me was ‘Did you speak to Lewis after Bahrain?’. No we didn’t speak, as we wouldn’t speak after any other race,” replied Russell.
“We’re racing each other, if we would see each other in the paddock we would speak. We’ve seen each other this year, a little fist bump along the way, and that’s been the same since 2019, before last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
“My relationship with Lewis is the same as a lot of the other drivers up and down the paddock which is completely fine. There are no hard feelings, no issues between myself and Lewis.”
Russell is favourite to become Hamilton’s team-mate at Mercedes for 2022, replacing Bottas who has struggled to match Hamilton’s performance.