Ex-Formula 1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle is unsure which Mercedes driver would come out on top, if given a car that is capable of challenging for the title.
For the last two seasons, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have been given difficult cars to tame by Mercedes, which have stood no chance in the title fight.
Russell’s win at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix remains as the Silver Arrows’ only victory since the new aerodynamic regulations were introduced last year, whilst Hamilton’s last win came at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Russell and Hamilton have both had the better of each other in their two seasons as team-mates, with Russell having come out on top in 2022.
This shocked many, as the King’s Lynn-born driver became just the third teammate of Hamilton’s to finish above him in the Drivers’ Championship.
However, Hamilton comfortably had the better of the ex-Williams driver in 2023 and ended the year 59 points and five places ahead of him.
It means they enter 2024 at 1-1, increasing the stakes on being the top driver at the Brackley-based team next year.
Whilst being Mercedes’ number one driver is a target for both presumably, the real goal is to fight for the title.
For this to happen, Mercedes need their new concept to be a success, as Red Bull are likely to make further progress.
Should the Germans have a race-winning car in 2024 then it’ll open up an interesting question: which driver will come out on top?
Brundle was asked this by a fan but failed to give a definitive answer, despite Hamilton being a seven-time World Champion.
The ex-F1 driver noted that it’s difficult to answer as Russell has never had a car capable of winning the title, with it being a huge unknown on how he’d deal with that.
“I think they’re so close, those two if you look at the stats,” Brundle explained during a Sky Sports F1 Q&A session. “But George had a couple of nightmare races this year. That’s a very good question. It depends [on] if Lewis maintains his current motivation, but it’s so close to call.
“Lewis knows how to do that but George has got youth on his side. I don’t know the answer to that, but I definitely wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, Lewis without a doubt, because he’s already a seven-time champion.’ That I would absolutely not say. Until George is in a championship-winning position, we don’t know if he’s got the head to cope with it.”