‘Controversial’ George Russell incident ignites criticism as sparks fly with Lewis Hamilton

The relationship between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell is under scrutiny after their latest outing in Japan.

Former F1 team manager and pundit Peter Windsor has sounded a cautionary note for Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. 

Windsor has raised concerns about the budding relationship between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, suggesting that it could become a significant issue for the team if they find themselves in a title fight in the future.

The issue of their relationship came to the forefront at the Japanese Grand Prix, where tense moments unfolded between the two Mercedes teammates. 

The tensions began when Hamilton ran Russell wide at the exit of Spoon Corner, leading to a fiery radio exchange initiated by Russell.

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Later in the race, controversy further enveloped the team as Mercedes decided to swap the positions of their drivers, with the aim of aiding Russell’s defence against the charging Carlos Sainz. 

Russell responded to this move with a pointed comment, stating, “You want to play the team game, but he pushed me off the track earlier, it’s the least he can do.”

Reflecting on the incidents at Suzuka, Peter Windsor expressed his concerns, saying, “You could argue it is probably quite good TV and it’s quite dramatic and controversial, but it was unsettling in a way. 

“It was so out of context how Mercedes like to present themselves.” 

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He pointed out the apparent acrimony between the two drivers and raised questions about how Mercedes would manage the potential imbalance between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton if they were competing for a World Championship.

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Windsor acknowledged that the current squabbles involve minor placings, which might not have significant consequences, but he underlined the challenges Mercedes could face if they find themselves in a serious title battle in 2024.

Mercedes has seldom employed team orders since Hamilton and Russell became teammates. 

However, with Hamilton currently holding a 75-point lead over Russell and occupying a higher position in the standings, the debate over number one and number two driver status has gained momentum.