George Russell has stressed that despite colliding with Lewis Hamilton multiple times in 2023, the duo still “trust one another”, quashing any suggestions of tension between them ahead of the 2024 season.
After finishing ahead of Hamilton in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship and becoming just the third teammate of the seven-time World Champion’s to have accomplished the feat, 2023 was largely a forgettable season for Russell.
He had three notable worrying moments with the 38-year-old, one of which resulted in Hamilton retiring.
Their first worrying moment came towards the start of the 2023 season at the Spanish Grand Prix, where the two Mercedes drivers bizarrely collided down the start/finish straight.
Russell moved across without realising Hamilton was already there, before contact sent the 103-time race winner onto the grass at high-speed.
Thankfully, on that occasion, both drivers escaped unscathed.
They both escaped unscathed towards the end of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix as well, where the two drivers were battling for position.
Whilst fighting in the opening stages, Hamilton went extremely wide at Spoon Curve, sending both him and Russell off the circuit.
Again, they both escaped unscathed, although Russell did question what was going on.
Unfortunately, both drivers failed to escape unscathed on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix, where contact sent Hamilton into the gravel at the first corner, where he retired from the race.
That incident was actually Hamilton’s fault but it was another example of the duo simply getting too close together.
Had the pair not collided at the first corner in Qatar, then a double-podium finish was a real possibility.
There is no hiding the fact that Russell and Hamilton’s relationship was tested during the most recent season; however, the ex-Williams driver is confident that they always “give each other enough space to fight”.
“I think also we trust one another. There may be tense [moments], it may be hard, but we trust one another,” Russell said, as reported by FormulaNerds.
“We know that we’ll give each other enough space to fight necessarily and not go beyond the limit.”
Russell added: “Obviously, Qatar was just a bit of a lap one small misjudgement. That’s another opportunity where it was another podium or even a potential victory missed.”