A revered Method 1 observer has predicted a fierce battle between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell if Mercedes can produce a successful automotive for the 2023 season.
After changing Hamilton’s former wingman Valtteri Bottas final winter, Russell excelled in his first season as a Mercedes driver in 2022, outscoring his illustrious team-mate by 35 factors and claiming the staff’s solely victory of the yr in Brazil.
Hamilton, in the meantime, endured the primary winless marketing campaign of his profession and was overwhelmed by a team-mate throughout a season for the primary time since he misplaced the World Championship to Nico Rosberg in a tense battle in 2016.
Mercedes’ aggressive finish to the 2022 season has grown expectations that the staff will return to common race-winning rivalry subsequent yr, having gained eight consecutive Constructors’ titles between 2014 and 2021.
Talking through his Twitch channel, former Williams and Ferrari staff supervisor Peter Windsor believes the partnership between Russell and Hamilton has the potential to show explosive.
“I believe it’ll be 10 occasions worse than Rosberg/Hamilton,” he mentioned.
“I believe what you noticed in Barcelona on that opening lap [in 2016] between Lewis and Nico is simply the beginning of it between George and Lewis. Up one other stage.
“George is hard and arduous and he’s going to drive into Lewis rather a lot in the event that they’re in race-winning, Championship-winning automobiles, for positive.
“I believe Lewis will nonetheless be Lewis – he’s nonetheless the perfect driver I’ve ever seen, since Niki [Lauda] perhaps, at not getting concerned in someone else’s accident – however George will probably be proper there each race.
“It’ll be so annoying for Lewis – which is why I hold saying that, in actuality, if you happen to’ve bought Lewis you’re higher off with Valtteri [as his team-mate].”
Hamilton just lately dismissed recommendations that his relationship with Russell dangers creating into a difficulty for Mercedes.
“I’m rather a lot older and I’ve been with the staff so lengthy, so managing no matter challenges we give you transferring ahead, we’ve been by way of a lot that I don’t suppose it’s going to be an issue,” he mentioned.
Nonetheless, Russell himself admitted he expects a “totally different dynamic” inside the staff if Mercedes return to the entrance in 2023.
George Russell’s Austin misjudgement was a warning signal for Mercedes
When Charles Leclerc joined Ferrari in 2019 it didn’t take him lengthy to steal the Scuderia’s hearts and minds from his embellished team-mate Sebastian Vettel, setting his first pole place in simply his second outing in crimson in Bahrain.
However the pair may so simply have clashed on the very first nook of their first race collectively, Leclerc solely simply avoiding a collision with Vettel at the beginning in Melbourne as these Ferrari hearts briefly shot as much as their mouths.
The Mercedes equal of that second got here in Austin in October when Russell, ranging from the advantageous inside row of the grid, sensed a chance to realize positions.
Warfare may so simply have damaged out as Russell made a misjudgement into Flip 1 however slightly than slamming into Hamilton, fortunately for Mercedes, he took out polesitter Carlos Sainz as a substitute.
Had the Silver Arrows made contact at that time – there was one other near-miss on the following race in Mexico – their subsequent duel for victory three weeks later at Interlagos would have assumed a much more private edge and already there could be discuss of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff having to manage Hamilton and Russell for the nice of the staff.
With each residing to struggle one other day in Texas, nonetheless, the world was saved… for now.
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