Nico Rosberg believes George Russell finds himself in a “win-win” situation at Mercedes, despite the fact he is going up against the most successful Formula 1 driver in history.
In fact, it’s for that reason Rosberg reckons Russell, who was announced as a Mercedes for 2022 earlier this week, cannot lose partnering Hamilton.
“The positive is he [Russell] has nothing to lose and everything to gain because you’re up against the best of all time,” the 2016 F1 champion told Sky F1.
“Nobody expects you to destroy him but if you manage to, you’ll be the absolute biggest hero of all time.”
Conversely for Hamilton, Rosberg believes the seven-time champion can only lose in this situation.
“That’s what makes it so difficult for Lewis because he’s got this young gun who’s never won anything coming in, so Lewis can only lose actually.
“He’s the greatest, and imagine this young gun starts to beat him…that’s a really uncomfortable situation to be in.”
Rosberg famously went up against Hamilton and won the title in 2016 before retiring from the sport. He enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Briton prior to becoming team-mates. That relationship began to sour as their on-track rivalry intensified.
Rosberg says that’s a dilemma that faces Russell in his first year as taking an aggressive approach could upset Hamilton and the team.
“The challenge for George is also in that first wheel-to-wheel battle…does he yield or does he stick in there?
“That’s so difficult because if he sticks in there and [a collision] is entirely his fault, that would be a disastrous start to his time at Mercedes,” added Rosberg.
“But if he sticks in there and it’s not his fault and more Lewis’ fault, it would be a giant boost for the confidence, so it’s such a difficult one to manage.”