Ex-Ferrari and Williams team manager Peter Windsor believes Lewis Hamilton is “still quicker than George Russell”, if given a car he feels “completely comfortable in”.
Hamilton got the better of Russell in the Drivers’ Championship last season and made up in many ways for being beaten by the ex-Williams driver in 2022, something which very few expected.
In 2022, Russell became just the third teammate of Hamilton’s to finish above him in the standings, although couldn’t replicate the feat in 2023.
Both drivers struggled to feel comfortable in the W14, although Hamilton managed to extract more from the car on a regular basis on a Sunday.
However, nothing separated the pair when it came to qualifying, despite the fact the seven-time World Champion is a 104-time pole sitter.
Some ponder whether Russell is actually quicker than Hamilton over one-lap, who recently turned 39 years old.
Windsor seemingly doesn’t think this is totally accurate and thinks that if Mercedes’ 2024 car suits Hamilton, then the 103-time race winner will win the intra-team battle for a second season in a row.
Hamilton is viewed as a “very intelligent” individual by Windsor, who believes that the Mercedes driver isn’t the driver he was back in 2007 and 2008 – his first two F1 seasons.
Windsor thinks Hamilton is no longer prepared to “put everything on the line” if the car isn’t working how he wants it to, but that he’s still exceptional and ready to risk it all when he’s comfortable with the car.
“I think one of the reasons Lewis has been so successful is because he’s very intelligent, and he’s intelligent enough to know how to pace his life and his career, and how to sustain his motivation and his drive – and he’s done that very well,” Windsor said during a live stream on YouTube.
“He’s taken a lot of criticism, particularly from the British tabloid press over the years for the way he’s lived his life away from Formula 1, but a lot of that has been Lewis knowing that he needs that [separation from F1], otherwise it’s going to over overtake him.
“I respect that enormously about Lewis. I think now, it’s an interesting Lewis that we’re seeing because I don’t think it’s the same Lewis that we had around in 2007, 2008.
“I think Lewis now isn’t going to put everything on the line if he doesn’t feel completely comfortable in the car, but I think if he does feel completely comfortable in the car, then I think he’s still quicker than George Russell. I think he’s that good.
“But I think he’s at a point now where he’s not going to be absolutely out there at George pace unless the car is right, and we saw that in Abu Dhabi.”