George Russell says Mercedes have made it clear that he and Lewis Hamilton will be heading into the 2022 Formula 1 season on an equal playing field.
Mercedes confirmed earlier this week that Russell will join Hamilton at the team from 2022, taking the place of Valtteri Bottas, following three years at Williams.
Russell has been a long-term member of Mercedes’ junior programme and made a one-off appearance for the team in Bahrain last year.
He says Mercedes has outlined that he is “definitely going [in] on level terms and that was made very clear to me.
“I think Mercedes are always respectful in that regard to give both drivers the best opportunity.”
Formula 1 history is littered with examples of two front-running team-mates coming to blows, including at Mercedes, with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg clashing on several occasions.
Russell, though, thinks he and Hamilton can prosper alongside each other, aided by their difference in age and experience.
“Throughout my junior career, there were a number of drivers who I was very close with on pace and very often very close with on track,” he said.
“There’s no reason why there would be any falling outs or anything.
“I am sure we’re going to race each other respectfully but hard as well at the same time as Lewis and Valtteri have over the past five years.
“I think Lewis and I have got a really great relationship, we’re at different stages of our careers and we’ve got one goal next year which is to develop the car and push it forward, and make sure that we as two drivers give ourselves the best chance of having the fastest race car.
“The only way we’re going to do that is by working together to develop that.”