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George Russell thinks Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s impending departure at the end of 2024 could serve to “ignite a new spark” within the squad.

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Hamilton delivered shockwaves through F1 before the racing commenced this term as he activated a break clause in his Mercedes contract to pen a deal with Ferrari.

With six Drivers’ titles and 82 victories since his arrival from McLaren in 2013, the Briton’s exit will bring an end to the most successful partnership the sport has seen.

However, Hamilton hasn’t added to his record win total since December 2021 amid Mercedes’ failure to nail a car concept under the current ground effect regulations.

But Russell has looked to the positives that could emanate from his partner’s move to Ferrari, citing how change can tend to inspire a revitalised working environment.

“My job is to beat my team-mate and get the most out of the car,” Russell told the Daily Mail.

“It is a fresh start for the team, so many people here have shared success with Lewis, but change often ignites a new spark for everyone.

“It does that for Lewis, and it sparks that for us here next year. You have to adapt and evolve, and we are in that process of building from the ground up.

“It is good that Lewis is leaving us now – rather [than] in 2021, when it would have been difficult for the whole team.” Mercedes held renewed optimism that a revamped W15 this season would eradicate the recalcitrant characteristics of its predecessor and deliver a return to the top.

However, Mercedes has struggled with balance issues in the opening rounds and has not logged a single podium visit across the opening eight rounds this campaign.

But Russell has reiterated the team understands where it went wrong with its current car and is optimistic that recent progress will translate into results soon enough.

“When you look at the data and you correlate it with how it feels, you understand why last year wasn’t good and nor was the year before,” he detailed.

“It was all at the rear and is now all at the front. The problem is that the changes we made were too much.

“It was in the right direction, but we carried on going and overshot. It shows there is always a compromise.

“We have a great team and have other great people joining, we have James [Allison, Technical Director] back at the helm and he’s letting nothing slide.

“There’s clear leadership, and I’m quite a rational person, [and] morale does get knocked when you realise it is going to be a tough season.”