Lewis Hamilton has an excuse for being behind George Russell

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have both claimed seven podiums each this season, ahead of the 2022 Mexican GP.

It has been an “unusual year” for Lewis Hamilton, on the back of winning six Drivers’ Championships in the last eight years.

The seven-time World Champion is currently on-track for his worst end of year result in his Formula 1 career, with the 37-year-old currently occupying sixth in the standings.

His previous worst is fifth; however, he is close to moving into this position due to closing right down on Carlos Sainz.

Regardless of whether he finishes fourth, fifth or sixth, it hasn’t been the type of season Hamilton is used to, with the Briton looking set to fail to win a single race.

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Hamilton is the only driver in the history of the sport to have claimed victory in every season he’s competed in, something that is at a perilous risk of ending.

The team’s struggles this season have resulted in Hamilton having to take a very different approach to each Grand Prix, given the fact that it’s his team-mate’s first season with the side.

With it being George Russell’s first year as a full-time Mercedes driver, the team have made him prioritise on the side’s existing car each weekend, whereas Hamilton has been used to experiment with different set-ups.

Hamilton has therefore been the team’s “sacrifice” this year, as they’ve battled throughout the campaign to get on top of their seemingly endless issues.

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The 37-year-old admitted he’s “tried every setting” in 2022 and has led the team’s “problem-solving”.

“I’ve tried every setting you can possibly do,” he said.

“That’s what I was doing at the beginning of the year.

“The whole idea of performing at your best and getting the best result from each weekend would be nice but I was really about problem-solving.

“I will sacrifice this session or all the sessions to be able to find more data and information for you so that when we go back to the factory they’ve got a better understanding of what’s going on.

“But it ultimately hindered a lot of the weekends.”

Russell is currently 20 points ahead of Hamilton but has been weaker than his experienced team-mate in the second half of the year.

Despite being the dominant Silver Arrows driver at the start of the year, Hamilton actually leads Russell 12-7 when it comes to qualifying; however, Russell leads Hamilton 10-9 when it comes to race results.

With three races remaining, Russell and Hamilton are both level on seven podiums each this season, with the pair most likely wanting to secretly beat the other.

The 103-time Grand Prix winner has admitted that he doesn’t actually care if he finishes behind Russell in the World Championship this year, which would make him just the second driver to do so at Mercedes.

“It’s been an unusual year,” he admitted.

“George is doing a great job. I don’t have any problems with it. There’s no issues in the background with us.

“George and his team don’t experiment the same, obviously. But that’s because I’ve been here for a long time. I have the big, deep conversations with people I’ve been with for 10 years.

“So me and [Andrew Shovlin] can have arguments, constructive arguments. George, it’s his first year with the team so he’s come in and he’s just doing his job to the best of his ability, with very little movement of set-up.

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“I’m doing back and forwards here and there, different wings, all these different things and I like that anyway.

“If we come into next year and we have a car that we are much happier with then we can be more focused on that whole… not having to go crazy with set-ups, then we can have a better battle.

“If he finishes ahead at the end of the season I don’t really feel anything about it; we’re not in the championship. We are fourth and sixth. If it was first and second it’s different.”