Lewis Hamilton tipped to finish below George Russell

George Russell leads Lewis Hamilton by 15 points in the inter-team battle with just two races remaining of 2022.

Lewis Hamilton’s 2022 comeback is almost complete, having claimed seven podiums in the last 12 races; however, two ex-F1 drivers have predicted that he won’t have enough time to overtake George Russell in the Drivers’ Championship.

Heading into the season, it was widely expected that Hamilton would be the dominant driver at Mercedes, with Russell playing some sort of an understudy role.

As it quickly turned out, that wasn’t the case at all.

Russell started the season in unbelievable fashion, and quickly built a lead over Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, with the former Williams driver having been challenging the top three whilst Hamilton was languishing in sixth.

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The 24-year-old quickly became dubbed as ‘Mr Consistent’, after finishing the first nine races of the season in the top five, something no other driver could acclaim.

Despite having claimed the team’s only pole position of the year as well, though, the tables have well and truly turned in the second half of the year.

Hamilton’s lacklustre performances from the first half of the season weren’t replicated in the second phase of the season, with the seven-time World Champion having found his form from the Canadian Grand Prix onwards.

It’s not just on Sundays where Hamilton has begun to dominate over his team-mate, with Russell commonly now qualifying behind his team-mate, who has achieved 103 pole positions in the sport.

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Despite this, Hamilton still sits 15 points behind Russell with just two races to go, starting off with his beloved Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend.

Whilst his recent form has been mighty, 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill hails Russell as being a “bit better” in one-lap pace “right now”, but that the 37-year-old is “always the fastest” at Mercedes overall.

“He may have lost his absolute speed over one lap a little bit,” Hill told the ‘F1 Nation’ podcast.

“George is a bit better at that right now. However, if you look at the races, you will see that Lewis is always the fastest. The young drivers are often fast over one lap, while the experienced drivers are stronger during the race.”

Ex-F1 driver Jolyon Palmer has tipped Russell to hold on to the top Mercedes spot despite Hamilton’s late comeback, due to the “lead he already has”.

Palmer is quick to add, though, that whilst Russell might be ahead of Hamilton, it doesn’t represent the “whole story” at the Brackley-based team.

“I think George will pull it off, but I think it’s mainly because of the lead he already has,” said Palmer.

“There are also only two races to go, so if he stays consistent, then he’s already there. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of Mercedes.”

Hamilton will be going all out for victory at one of the last two races of the year, to maintain his record of having won a race in every F1 season he’s competed in.

The Silver Arrows have faced an incredibly turbulent year which has resulted in a lot of trial and error in regard to finding the ‘sweet spot’, something Hamilton has been used for more by the team than Russell given his experience.

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Palmer still thinks Hamilton has the edge over Russell despite their current positions in the standings and would “put my money” on Hamilton having a better chance at competing for a future title.

“Now that the season has progressed, Lewis is starting to look like Lewis again,” the former Renault driver added.

“People were amazed that George was in front of him, and it looked like he would easily beat Lewis in the first seven races. Hamilton is now really back above his team-mate. If they compete for the title next year, I’ll put my money on Lewis.”