George Russell wants to be ‘top dog’ at Mercedes despite still having ‘a chink in his armour’, according to former Formula One star David Coulthard. Mercedes star Russell was involved in a strange collision with team-mate Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Russell and Hamilton collided during Q2, with the former largely blamed for the incident. Mercedes have downplayed the crash as ‘miscommunication’ between their two drivers.
However, former McLaren driver Coulthard has pointed out to Hamilton that his much younger colleague still has a ‘chink in his armour’. The 52-year-old insists that Russell is not yet the finished product.
Amid Mercedes’ woes, Coulthard believes that Hamilton will soon be ‘back’. Russell and Hamilton finished third and second, respectively, in Barcelona in a rare good outing for the Silver Arrows. However, Coulthard claims that the 25-year-old Russell still has weaknesses.
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“George has still got a little chink in his armour,” Coulthard told Channel 4. “That late movement in qualifying where they had contact, if you remember he’s had some little drop-the-ball moments.
“He’s not the complete finished article yet. He’s pretty close. But Lewis Hamilton when he’s back, he’s back.”
Coulthard believes the crash was evidence of Russell trying to be the ‘top dog’ at Mercedes. The Briton largely plays second-fiddle to seven-time world champion Hamilton.
The former driver – 13-time Grand Prix winner – continued: “George didn’t want to give Lewis a slipstream and closed the door. This is my analysis. The young challenger wants to replace the top dog.”
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Russell was handed a formal warning over the incident. Asked if it had all been part of a plan, Russell quipped: “I hope that wasn’t part of the plan, because it’s not a good plan if it is! It was just a big miscommunication, a lot of traffic on the out-lap, I was just looking ahead trying to take the slipstream from Carlos [Sainz], and the next thing [I know] Lewis was there.
“Fortunately, nothing big happened, but I’m just a bit disappointed to be out in Q2. I was really struggling with the car the whole session, wasn’t feeling the same as it was in practice, and that was kind of the maximum I could get out of it. Not ideal, but it’s a long race tomorrow.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added: “It shouldn’t happen. Team-mates should never collide and even with another car you shouldn’t collide in qualifying.”
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