George Russell says he and Lewis Hamilton need to give each other respect

George Russell became just the third team-mate to beat Lewis Hamilton in the World Drivers' Championship last season.

Despite all the obvious difficulties that Mercedes faced in 2022, the team can at least be proud of how George Russell and Lewis Hamilton worked together throughout the campaign, where they extracted the most from the poor W13.

Given that it was Russell’s first season at Mercedes, the British driver performed valiantly all year and was staggeringly stronger than Hamilton in the first half of the season.

Alas, Hamilton did become stronger in the second half of the year after overcoming some issues, most notably the horrendous porpoising phenomena.

A strong relationship between the two was visible, with the eagerness to improve being key to the team’s incredible one-two at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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That was, of course, Russell’s first win in F1 and Mercedes’ first of the season, something that was a true sign of the relentless hard work that has been done behind-the-scenes at Brackley and Brixworth.

Ultimately, the team are hoping for considerably better from the W14 next season, where the side are going to be eager to get back to consistent winning ways.

With that in mind, some might question if this could cause a rivalry between Russell and Hamilton, should they be fighting for the title in 2023, something the former Williams driver sees “no reason” for.

“If you are fighting for one-twos there will be a slightly different dynamic and that’s only natural,” Russell said in response to a question from prior to the Brazilian GP.

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“But I think the thing we have going for us is the fact that we are at very different stages of our career. It kind of feels like we are in this together, really.

“If we get to next year and we’ve got a car that’s capable of one-two finishes, we will have a huge amount of pride in thinking we have contributed together in helping the team achieve this. And then we go about our business.

“But we’ve got no reason to have conflict. We have got a good relationship. We need to give each other respect, and I think we gave each other respect in Mexico, as an example.

“We recognise the importance of that within the whole team. If our relationship starts to break up, it’s going to have an impact on the team and ultimately it’s going to go full circle and affect us as well.

“I think we can continue to build off this and if anything our relationship will probably get closer as time goes on.”

2022 was a year to celebrate for Russell despite the team’s struggles, as the 24-year-old became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the Drivers’ Championship.

It is a brilliant achievement given that it was his first campaign as a Silver Arrows driver, meaning he joins Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg in the highly exclusive club.

Russell is “pleased” with his 2022 campaign but is quick to admit that the seven-time World Champion had issues at the start of the season, with it being “pretty even” between the two on the whole.

“For sure I’m pleased to one degree of how my personal performance has gone,” he said in response to another question from

“It’s no secret that Lewis had a bit of a tricky run at the start of this season, so that gave me an opportunity to rack up probably some more points. But equally, it’s been pretty even between the two of us and that’s been good for me.

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“When you are a racing driver, you want to be the fastest every single time you hit the track. And being even is also something that is a difficult pill to swallow, because we all believe in ourselves and you always believe you can get the best out of it.

“But when you’ve got someone such as Lewis alongside you, performing at such a [high] level, week-in, week-out, you are never ever going to be able to be quickest within your team every single week.

“The amount of points we’ve scored this year would have been enough to finish P3 in the championship last year. And considering that’s with a car that’s been over a second off the pace at times, I take a lot of pride in that.”