Mercedes’ driver pairing in 2023 is a scary one, with both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell more motivated for success than ever before, following a below par 2022 full of struggles.
The Silver Arrows never quite got going under the new regulations, taking the wrong development path in the early stages of the year before being set back massively by a porpoising problem.
While Hamilton opted to be more experimental with his setups and try to find the root cause of the W13’s lack of performance, Russell managed to extract every inch of performance out of the car and finish two places above the 37-year-old in the championship.
Russell has called it an honour to be teammates with the seven-time world champion, claiming that he is inspired by Hamilton’s legendary status in Formula 1 and has taken great pride in being able to beat the Brit.
When speaking about what makes his teammate so great, Russell has suggested that Hamilton is not a traditional racing driver, proving that there are multiple paths to success in motorsport.
“I think I’ve used this analogy before but, when I look at [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic, three greats of sport, statistically – all basically achieved exactly the same achievements, yet they have three totally different ways of playing it [tennis],” he explained.
“I’m sure they trained differently. When you watch them, they look different. When you see them on court, they excel on different courts of playing fields or whatever.
“Yet, they’re three greats. I think the thing I take away from that, and also from what I take away from Lewis, is that there is no one path to success.
“I think you need to find your own path, your own journey, you need to have that self-belief that, even if somebody is going down a certain path, you need to follow your own course and you need to do what is best for you.”
Russell picked up Mercedes’ only win of 2022 in Brazil while Hamilton went winless, proving that he has what it takes to beat the seven-time world champion in equal machinery.
Having tasted the glory of winning a race for the first time, Russell will not be content with sitting back and wingmanning Hamilton in 2023, as the 37-year-old hunts for his record breaking eighth world title.
This could lead to tensions in the Mercedes’ camp, as both of their drivers next year will have title ambitions of their own, should they be given the machinery to compete with Red Bull once again.