Mercedes believes that George Russell did an “incredibly good job” at assimilating within the team amid the operation’s struggles in 2022.
Long-term Mercedes protégé Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas for 2022 after spending three years with Williams, during which period he was largely in the lower half of the pecking order.
Russell’s promotion to Mercedes coincided with the team’s regression, behind Red Bull and Ferrari, but the Briton secured a maiden win in São Paulo, along with seven other podiums, to finish fourth overall.
“George did a very good job this year,” said Mercedes’ strategy chief James Vowles.
“He is against the best in the world, and that’s your reference and what is very clear is that at the beginning of the year when he had a car that was difficult Lewis was using his wealth of experience to help us in order to improve the car and really move us forward as part of the team.
“George in that period was just really focused on learning and embedding himself into the team, and he scored a number of results really that benefited him as a result of that.
“Irrespective his qualifying pace I think is within a tenth of where Lewis ended up, and his race pace was very, very strong throughout the year.”
Russell had previously tested for Mercedes during his stint with Williams and also made a one-off appearance in 2020, but 2022 marked his first full campaign competing for the Silver Arrows.
“That’s really what we were looking for: how does he fit into our environment?,” said Vowles.
“How does he fit into the team? How does he work with Lewis? How does he work with everyone else? And I think in all of those he did an incredibly good job.
“It was a big step up for him from Williams – I think where Williams operated is obviously a very high level, where we operate is a little bit different to that. I think he adapted very quickly and very well.”