George Russell would be ‘more vocal’ if he didn’t know Lewis Hamilton was above him

George Russell currently sits 75 points behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson believes that George Russell is still Mercedes’ and Lewis Hamilton’s “understudy”, something Russell recognises in the Sky Sports F1 pundit’s opinion.

Russell and Hamilton have raced close together in the last two races, with the seven-time World Champion having come out on top in both Singapore and Japan.

Hamilton would’ve been beaten by Russell in Singapore had the 25-year-old not crashed on the final lap, whilst trying to put Lando Norris under pressure for second.

Russell’s crash promoted Hamilton onto the podium, something he was happy to accept.

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At the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, the duo spent more time battling each other than their opponents, something which frustrated the ex-Williams driver.

Hamilton ultimately finished ahead of Russell once again, after Mercedes used team orders to invert their drivers to support the seven-time World Champion’s strategy.

The 38-year-old has had the edge over Russell at the majority of races this season, with the younger Mercedes driver having been unable to replicate his 2022 success.

Last year, Russell became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to have defeated him in the Drivers’ Championship, something very few expected.

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In 2023, Hamilton has very much returned to his superior ways at Mercedes, with Davidson seeing that there is still a “hierarchy” at the Silver Arrows.

In Davidson’s eyes, Hamilton still sits at the top of the Mercedes tree, a status the ex-F1 driver thinks he’s “earned” through all of his success.

As a result, Russell “can’t argue”, according to the former Super Aguri driver.

“There’s definitely a hierarchy in that team,” Davidson told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. “And rightly so. You know, Lewis has earned that status in that team as a seven-time world champion, and George can’t argue against that.

“George is still the understudy, and he’s doing a very good job on those occasions where he’s got the speed over Lewis to really take the fight to him.

“But he’s doing it in such a George Russell polite way, which is quite humorous to watch, because I know inside the car, he’ll be fuming and steaming.

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“And that’s why we see the near misses, the drivers coming, almost to blows, almost to contact, but then he’s a good boy on the radio, he’s very British about it.

“And there are layers to him, to the annoyance, I think. It always comes over as, ‘I’m okay with this, but if you could please, very thankfully, let me through with the next couple of opportunities, it’d be much appreciated.’

“And we’d hear maybe a bit more vocal if things were different. But I think for now, I think he knows where he is in the team.”