Lewis Hamilton addresses ‘problems’ with George Russell

George Russell ended the 2022 season above team-mate Lewis Hamilton, in what was his first campaign with Mercedes.

George Russell adjusted to life at Mercedes superbly in 2022, despite the team having given both himself and Lewis Hamilton a truly dreadful car.

Russell to his credit, though, got the most out of the package, with some wondering if his experience of driving for Williams benefited his ability to extract ultimate performance from an underperforming car.

When racing for Williams, Russell was commonly able to achieve results far better than possible for the Grove-based team, something he also did for the Silver Arrows this season.

He not only claimed Mercedes’ only pole position and victory of the season; he also stepped foot on the podium a further seven times.

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If this wasn’t already enough, he became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the Drivers’ Championship, an accomplishment that only Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg can boast.

Hamilton, though, isn’t surprised the 24-year-old performed so strongly, to the point where he “surpassed himself”.

“I saw what he did at Williams, which was already impressive,” he is quoted by motorsport-total.com.

“And this year he surpassed himself. What he did this year was really impressive. He got the most out of it in every race,” Hamilton added.

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Whilst 2022 was his first actual season with Mercedes, Russell did race for the team at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and was often seen chatting with the Germans whilst still a Williams driver.

With this in mind, Hamilton believes his fellow Brit managed to adjust to the new environment “easier”, having already been surrounded by the Brackley-based team’s colleagues.

“In previous years he was with us more and more often and he already knew the engineers. That made it easier for him to adapt,” he said.

“He was the perfect reinforcement for our team and he brought a lot of positive energy. We communicate well with each other on equal terms and have a lot of mutual respect.”

Hamilton and Russell rarely battled in 2022, something that will perhaps be seen more often in 2023 should the W14 be up to standard.

Should Mercedes have a title-challenging car, then it’s likely both drivers will be in the mix, something which could cause tension amongst the camp.

Hamilton has previous experience of this with Rosberg, and also with Fernando Alonso in 2007 whilst at McLaren.

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The seven-time World Champion doesn’t see the same arising with Russell, with Hamilton confident that he can “handle these kinds of challenges”.

“I don’t believe that will happen,” admitted the Stevenage-born driver.

“I’m experienced enough and I’ve been with this team for so long that I can handle these kinds of challenges. It won’t be a problem,” said Hamilton.