It’s only his first season with The Silver Arrows, but George Russell is already proving how much he deserves his seat at the team. So far, he is the only driver to finish in the top five at every race. Not only this, but he’s seriously outperforming his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, too. The seven-time World Champion is finding himself being beaten by his rookie teammate most weekends. Could Russell become the new number one driver at Mercedes?
The W13 and Russell
One of the main reasons why there is such a gap between the successes of Russell and Hamilton is the car itself. Hamilton has been very candid about his struggles to get to grips with the W13. Mercedes themselves have too been very modest about their chances in fighting for the championship, declaring that they need their car to behave first. But Russell has experiences with cars that tend to misbehave. Before he joined Mercedes, Russell drove for Williams Racing, a team notorious for being towards the back of the grid. His experiences with cars that can be unreliable gives him an advantage against Hamilton, who has been in a comfortable Mercedes since 2013. It seems that Russell has a better grip on driving a car that won’t always play ball.
Has Hamilton lost his confidence?
Has the controversy around the 2021 season championship knocked Hamilton’s confidence? After losing out on his eighth championship win to Max Verstappen under mass controversy, there is speculation that Hamilton is slowly withdrawing from F1. He admitted earlier in 2022 that he had lost faith in the system of F1 following Abu Dhabi. Is his loss of faith an advantage to Russell?
Hamilton is one of the older drivers on the grid at the age of 37. He’s the second oldest to 40-year-old Fernando Alonso. Russell is 24 and in his prime racing years. Is the youthful vibrancy he brings to Mercedes going to put Hamilton out? Depending on how his already stellar rookie season goes with Mercedes, Russell may be pushed up to the number one spot.
Russell and Hamilton’s relationship is respectful and full of sportsmanship if their interviews are anything to go by. Could it all turn sour for the Mercedes duo if Russell continues to keep Hamilton on his toes? Perhaps we’ll see a rivalry reminiscent of the Hamilton-Rosberg years. For now, we’ll have to see how their relationship pans out for the rest of the season.