Mercedes warned of ‘not a good thing’ between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Mercedes had to ask George Russell several times at the 2023 Japanese GP to let Lewis Hamilton past.

Former Ferrari and Williams team manager Peter Windsor believes there is “definitely acrimony” at Mercedes, between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

The two Mercedes drivers have had a few close calls already this season; however, it finally spilled off the circuit, quite literally.

Hamilton and Russell had three tussles last weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, whilst initially battling for eighth place in the opening laps.

Russell dived up the inside of the seven-time World Champion at the chicane in the final sector, before Hamilton regained the spot on the run down into Turn 1 thanks to a helping of DRS.

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A few laps later, their duel reignited, after Hamilton ran wide at Turn 9.

This allowed Russell to hang onto the outside of the 38-year-old through Turn 12, before they both went off the circuit at Spoon due to Hamilton running wide.

Russell was quick to complain over the radio, with their relationship clearly becoming heated.

They were at it again in the closing laps, this time when duelling for fifth.

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Russell was trying to make a one-stop strategy work and had the position; however, Hamilton was directly behind on much fresher tyres.

Mercedes ultimately instructed Russell to give Hamilton the position, so that he could make the most of the fresher tyres.

The 25-year-old was slow to follow team orders and initially questioned why it was being instructed, before eventually allowing Hamilton to past.

Hamilton went onto finish fifth whilst Russell slipped to seventh, behind Carlos Sainz.

It was certainly a heated race for the Silver Arrows for all the wrong reasons, something Windsor believes isn’t good for the team.

“You could tell that there is definitely acrimony between the two now – and that’s not a good thing,” Windsor said on his YouTube channel.

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“Imagine if Mercedes had a Championship-winning car and this was the World Championship and grand prix wins they were racing for, imagine what it would be like between Lewis and George.”

“The good thing is it’s only for the minor placings, it’s all you can say. ‘Does it really matter that much?’ I suppose is what you’d say in the boardroom afterwards.

“But if they do get in a position actually to be doing something serious in 2024 – a big ask, you’ve got to say – then how are you going to manage that Lewis Hamilton/George Russell imbalance?”