“These are guys that I respect a huge amount,” Russell said. “Lewis is obviously the greatest of all time and Max, everyone knows how fast and talented he is.
“So to hear those comments is always a nice feeling. But equally, these comments don’t make you faster on track.”
What will make him faster on track is his new car, though a swathe of technical rule changes which will come into force next year could change the complexion of the grid completely.
Russell backed Williams to be able to cope well without him in 2022, adding: “I think next year is going to be an exciting year for Formula One. And I’m glad to be here.”