Lewis Hamilton opens up on George Russell defeating him

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton also opened up on his response to the disappointing string of performances by Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton has shared his candid perspective on the challenging dynamics of the 2022 Formula 1 season, during which he faced the formidable competition of his teammate, George Russell, at Mercedes. 

Hamilton’s recounting of the experience sheds light on the emotional and mental toll he endured, drawing parallels between the situation Russell faced and the circumstances Hamilton himself encountered alongside Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007.

After navigating a tumultuous three-year rivalry with his childhood friend turned rival, Nico Rosberg, Hamilton enjoyed a more harmonious environment when Valtteri Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017. 

Together, Hamilton and Bottas propelled Mercedes to an unprecedented streak of eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships in the V6-turbo-hybrid era. 

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However, the equilibrium shifted with the arrival of Russell, who replaced Bottas for the 2022 season.

Amid Mercedes’ challenges within the new regulation cycle introduced last year, Russell delivered the team’s sole pole position and race victory of the season, ultimately finishing ahead of Hamilton in the standings by 35 points. 

Hamilton candidly expressed the toll the situation took on him, drawing parallels between Russell’s circumstances and his own rookie season alongside Alonso.

Hamilton shared, “I would say last year, totally transparent, for sure I felt it. George had nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

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“If he finished behind me, they would say ‘well, you finished behind a seven-time world champion,’ and if he finished ahead then ‘you’re a legend’.” 

Drawing from his own experiences, Hamilton emphasised the stress that arises when the car’s performance prevents the driver from realising their full potential.

In the present season, Hamilton’s performance has seen a resurgence, as he has consistently outperformed Russell in both qualifying sessions and races. 

The seven-time World Champion’s dominance has been particularly evident since the introduction of conventional sidepods on the Mercedes W14 from the Monaco Grand Prix.

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Reflecting on the ongoing season, Hamilton expressed a sense of reinvigoration, stating, “This year I don’t find that at all and I feel back in the swing of things.” 

Hamilton’s strong performance has resulted in a 49-point lead over Russell in the Drivers’ standings, marked by consistent podium finishes and race victories.