Mercedes launch investigation into Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton struggled in 2023, as Mercedes once again failed to produce a strong car.

George Russell has revealed that Mercedes are looking into why himself and Lewis Hamilton were never able to produce similar pace to one another, in what was a bizarre theme for the team throughout 2023.

From the outside, Russell and Hamilton drawing 11-11 in their qualifying head-to-head would suggest that the pair were equally matched on a Saturday (or the odd Friday on Sprint weekends); however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Throughout the recently completed campaign, Hamilton and Russell’s pace at each Grand Prix varied massively.

It was to the point that at the Las Vegas Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Russell challenged for the front two rows, whilst Hamilton was eliminated in Q2 at both venues.

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This marked the first time since 2014 that the seven-time World Champion had failed to make it into Q3 at consecutive races.

Russell was significantly quicker than Hamilton over one-lap in the closing rounds but if you look earlier in the year, it was the complete opposite.

At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton sealed his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, whilst Russell was knocked out in Q1 after only going 18th fastest.

Very rarely were both Mercedes drivers able to lap at a similar pace, leaving the slower of the pair “chasing to close the gap”, often leading to mistakes.

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It’s key that the Silver Arrows figure out what caused this bizarre theme ahead of the 2024 campaign, to ensure that both Hamilton and Russell are able to challenge for the leading places on the grid at each venue, rather than just one of them.

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“It’s definitely something we’ve noticed,” Russell said after the season finale, as per The Express. “Lewis and I, over the course of the year, I don’t think we’ve ever been at the same pace.

“Over the last few years, our qualifying record is almost the same. But it’s either one driver is six-tenths ahead of the other. So it’s something we’re trying to understand. I think often when you’re slightly on the backfoot as a driver, you’re chasing to close that gap.

“Sometimes in doing so, you take a step backwards rather than actually close that gap naturally. It’s something I’m trying to figure out myself and I’m sure he’s trying to figure out as well.”