Is Lewis Hamilton worried about George Russell becoming Mercedes’ number 1 driver?

Lewis Hamilton has qualified behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell at every Grand Prix so far this season.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his best qualifying position of the 2023 F1 season to-date after a strong Saturday at the Australian Grand Prix; however, he was once again behind George Russell.

Hamilton will start Sunday’s race at the Albert Park Circuit from third, directly behind pole sitter Max Verstappen, who was once again unstoppable.

Starting second, though, is Russell, who claimed Mercedes’ first front row start of the season.

It was certainly a strong session for both Mercedes drivers, with Hamilton having been “really proud” of the Silver Arrows given how challenging the start of the year has been.

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“I’m so happy with this. This is totally unexpected. Really, really proud of the team,” Hamilton said.

“George did a fantastic job today, so for us to be up on the two front rows is honestly a dream for us.

“We’re all working as hard as we can to get right back up the front, and so to be this close to Red Bull is honestly incredible.

“I hope tomorrow we can give them a bit of a run for their money and we hope the weather is good.”

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Whilst Hamilton was elated to claim third on the grid, he did admit that he lost “a little bit” of time on his final lap, suggesting that he possibly had the pace to be the top Mercedes driver on Saturday.

“The second lap wasn’t as good as the first one. I did get a little bit further ahead in the last sector, but ultimately I lost out a little bit at the beginning,” Hamilton added

“But I’m not disappointed.

“I’m super grateful for this position and I’m just going to work as hard as I can to try and move forwards tomorrow.”

Somewhat concerningly, Russell has out-qualified Hamilton at every Grand Prix so far this season, with ‘Mr Saturday’ having certainly been capable of finding an extra tenth when he needs it most.

Qualifying isn’t where the points are at play, though, with the Mercedes duo currently drawing 1-1 when it comes to finishing higher in the race.

This weekend is seemingly the first time this season where both drivers have shown good pace throughout the weekend, with Hamilton having been stronger in Bahrain, whilst Russell had the edge in Saudi Arabia.

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The 38-year-old will likely be pushing to claim top Mercedes honours on Sunday to prove that qualifying behind Russell isn’t as big an issue as many make it out to be, given that he is a 103-time race winner.

Russell, though, will be eager to show that his 2022 performance wasn’t a fluke, with converting his strong Saturdays into strong Sundays being essential to that.

Whilst Hamilton will, of course, want to be the top Mercedes in qualifying, he’s likely not too concerned by being beaten by Russell on Saturdays just yet, given that he is still ahead of the former Williams driver in the championship.

Should this change though, then it could become a different story.