George Russell warned he must ‘think’ like Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes driver George Russell has struggled relative to Lewis Hamilton this season, after a strong 2022 campaign.

Former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on George Russell’s ability to think strategically during races, asserting that his teammate Lewis Hamilton excels in this aspect of his performances.

Russell, the 25-year-old British driver, has faced a challenging season filled with setbacks and has drawn criticism for his racing decisions and on-track interactions.

Russell’s misfortune was highlighted at the Singapore Grand Prix, where he was poised to challenge Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris for the top two positions. 

However, on the final lap, he clipped the outside wall at turn ten, resulting in a heartbreaking Did Not Finish (DNF) and squandering a guaranteed podium finish.

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This incident added to a series of mishaps for Russell, who has slipped to eighth place in the Drivers’ Championship, falling behind Lando Norris. 

With six races remaining on the calendar, he now trails his legendary teammate Lewis Hamilton by 75 points in the standings.

Speaking to the Daily Mail about Russell’s racing approach, Ecclestone remarked, “I can’t make up my mind about him. I like him. 

“He is super-talented. It is a matter of what he is prepared to do to win. 

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“He was hoping Carlos (Sainz) would run out of road at the last race (in Singapore). 

“He was pushing very, very hard. 

“I don’t think he thinks his race through, something Lewis does do.”

Russell’s tumultuous season has been marked not only by on-track incidents but also by passionate exchanges over the team radio during races and his eagerness to engage in competitive battles with his teammate Hamilton.

Acknowledging the difficulties he has faced in the 2023 season, Russell stated in an interview with Sky Sports F1 after the Japanese Grand Prix, “For me, the goal is to secure P2 in the constructors’. 

“On my personal side, the drivers’ championship is totally out of the window. 

“It’s been a complete disaster of a season, so many missed chances. Lewis is in a really good position for P3. 

“Standing here now, it’s all good.”

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Despite Russell’s claims of prioritising the team’s goals for the remainder of the season, tensions between him and Hamilton resurfaced at Suzuka. 

The two drivers engaged in intense wheel-to-wheel action, with close calls at the final chicane and the exit of Spoon corner. 

Russell expressed his frustration over the team radio, saying, “If you want to play the team game…he pushed me off the track earlier.”