George Russell: Lewis Hamilton is the most complete F1 driver

George Russell, who worked with Lewis Hamilton while he was at Mercedes as a junior driver, said he had been amazed at the work rate of the five-time F1 champion.

Williams' George Russell, who was a former Mercedes junior driver, has praised Lewis Hamilton.   -  Getty Images

British rookie George Russell has reminded anyone expecting otherwise that his compatriot Lewis Hamilton's talent and unrivalled work ethic have made him Formula One’s most complete driver.

On the eve of this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, and after three straight Ferrari triumphs, the highly-rated Williams driver’s message will warn Ferrari fans not to expect Hamilton to ease off while defending his lead in the title race.

Russell, who worked with Hamilton while he was at Mercedes as a junior driver, said he had studied the defending five-time champion at close quarters and been amazed at his work rate.

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“He’s the most complete driver that I’ve ever, ever come across,” said the young Englishman. “Just with the details and everything, it’s exceptional. He doesn’t just rely on natural talent to be quick.

“He goes into every single detail to try and be better and better. He’s one of the most hardworking people I think I’ve come across in the paddock -- which I think shocks a lot of people.”

Russell, in his debut season in F1, won titles in GP3 and Formula Two before joining Williams.

He said Hamilton would be his ideal team-mate and admitted he had picked up several tips from the championship frontrunner.

“There have definitely been a few little techniques that I saw him doing that I’ve tried to adopt to help me go faster, especially on a race distance,” he said.

Hamilton on 296 leads this year’s championship by 65 points ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen both on 200 with six races remaining.

After a run of 27 races in the points, Hamilton knows that reliability can help him clinch his sixth title if he stays out of trouble and continues with a run of podium finishes - even if Ferrari is winning races.