George Russell contradicts Lewis Hamilton claim after he demanded Mercedes apology

Rumours have swirled behind the scenes of Mercedes about a rift between Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and engineers over the car’s flawed design.

George Russell has rejected suggestions that there is internal division at Mercedes over the lack of performance from the team’s car.

The team have had another tough start to the season, as the Mercedes W14 has shown it doesn’t have the qualifying pace to secure pole position or the race pace to keep up with Red Bull.

After two races, Mercedes has found itself stuck in third in the Constructors’ Championship, where it finished at the end of 2022, as it fails to find a way to fight either Red Bull car or the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.

Having seen their eight-year grip on the Constructors’ Championship end following the introduction of new technical regulations last year, the team is looking for a way to make the Silver Arrows competitive once again.

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“I think many people accepted that these decisions weren’t the right ones,” Russell told reporters when discussing the design of the W14.

“Nobody is pointing fingers and blaming them for making decisions that were made with the best intentions and with the info we had.

“I think when it comes to car concepts, when it comes to decisions of where, let’s say, a team of two thousand people are going to be heading, it’s never one person directing that,” he continued.

“We were aware of the concept, Lewis [Hamilton] and I, and we did believe that this was the right direction. But we as a team have clearly missed something that happened over the winter, and we’re working as hard as we can to rectify that now,” he added.

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Hamilton has been equally open about his disappointment regarding the W14 after last season saw him get outscored by his new teammate. 

“I think the comments that I would hear [during the off-season] is that we probably won’t hit the ground straight away at the front but we should be there or thereabouts,” Hamilton said. 

“So yeah, it was a bit of a shock when that wasn’t obviously the case.”

READ: George Russell labelled ‘worst aspect’ of Lewis Hamilton’s weekend

“We will hopefully mould it into a winning car at some stage,” Hamilton said optimistically.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has accepted the feedback from his two drivers, admitting that the German manufacturer needs to significantly speed up their development process.

“I think the lag is probably between six and 12 months because that’s the time that it took for us to figure out what was actually happening with the car,” Wolff revealed.

“That means we just need to have double the development speed, a strong development slope.”