Mercedes told George Russell ‘was right’ in Lewis Hamilton dispute

Mercedes has a difficult task on its hands, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell appearing to be on a collision course.

Mercedes’ decision to issue team orders instructing George Russell to allow Lewis Hamilton to pass him in the closing laps of the race has ignited a spirited debate among Sky TV commentators. 

Russell, despite expressing his disagreement via team radio, complied with the order, setting the stage for a contentious post-race analysis.

As the race reached its climax at Suzuka, with only four laps remaining, Russell was directed by his team to yield to his illustrious teammate, Lewis Hamilton. 

The move, which altered the race dynamics, was met with skepticism by the commentators, who questioned the wisdom of Mercedes’ decision.

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Anthony Davidson, a former Formula 1 driver, and commentator on Sky, expressed his reservations, saying, “[Hamilton] was falling back from Charles Leclerc. 

“It leaves Russell massively vulnerable. 

“I think Russell was right.” 

Davidson’s comments shed light on the strategic implications of the decision, emphasizing the potential risks it posed to Russell’s race.

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Adding his voice to the discussion, Ted Kravitz chimed in, remarking, “Mercedes have created this problem.” 

Kravitz’s observation underscored the responsibility that Mercedes bore for the situation that unfolded on the track.

The controversy escalated when Carlos Sainz, driving for Ferrari, successfully overtook Russell after the team orders were executed. 

Kravitz posed a critical question, asking, “Why make the change in the first place?” 

Davidson further delved into the rationale behind the team’s directive, suggesting, “I think they were worried that Carlos would find his way past Hamilton and then do this to George, without DRS; it would have been even easier. 

“They were looking at it from the worst-case scenario. 

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“George was looking at it like: ‘Let me stay in front, I’ve got Lewis covered, he’s got Carlos covered, he’s got better tires than me, he’s getting a better exit from the chicane than I’ll have at this stage of the race – there’s more risk of me getting overtaken than Lewis’.”

In the end, the decision to allow Hamilton to pass Russell did not significantly alter the race outcome. 

Max Verstappen emerged as the victor of the Japanese Grand Prix, while Hamilton settled for fifth place, and Sainz claimed sixth. Russell, despite the controversy, finished in seventh place.