George Russell hints Lewis Hamilton ‘would have been different’

Lewis Hamilton opens up on difficult season for Mercedes

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George Russell has admitted his relationship with Lewis Hamilton “would have been different” this year if Mercedes were battling for race wins and titles. The former Williams star stressed connections within the team may not have been as strong without the period of uncertainty. However, Russell also revealed there had been some “tension” as the team desperately tried to find a solution to their lack of pace.

He told the High Performance Podcast: “I think for sure the dynamic would have been slightly different had we arrived at the first race and had the fastest car on the grid. A lot of questions were asked. There’s been a huge amount of late nights throughout this season. A lot of tension at times between drivers teams, designers with regards to, are we on the right tracks?

“Do we need to be doing something different? Do we need to be more drastic? Do we need to follow the same path as what we are on and continue doing what we know best? These were very difficult conversations that we come away from them closer together and we’ve got such great leadership in Mercedes that we are now all pushing in one direction.

“Whereas perhaps if you arrive at the very first race and your car was the quickest you go back to the thought that ‘everything is a little too easy’.

“Those relationships are there but they maybe aren’t as strong as they could be. You go through a bit of success but is it going to be long-term success or just short-term success… Who knows what would have happened if we had a race-winning car day one.”

Russell and Hamilton have appeared to enjoy a strong relationship as team-mates this season. The pair were spotted working out together at a gym ahead of the Australian Grand Prix back in April.

Hamilton has also praised Russell’s achievements, notably after the 24-year-old secured the Silver Arrows’ first win of the year in Brazil.

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Hamilton has previously suggested Russell helped keep the “equilibrium” in the team and acknowledged their working relationship was strong. He explained: “It’s not like he arrived in a completely brand new team.

“The previous couple of years he was sitting right behind me watching the work that I was doing with the engineers, with Ricky, who is now his number one. It’s been super easy to blend in. He uses my steering wheel, and he’s obviously got to do the test days prior to the year, so I think he’s just blended in perfectly and he’s been a positive force in the team.”

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