‘Strange’ Lewis Hamilton addresses George Russell performance

Nico Rosberg has offered his insights into the current performance of the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Lewis Hamilton found himself in the eighth position on the grid, behind several formidable competitors including Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Sergio Perez, Alex Albon, and Oscar Piastri. 

This unexpected setback left the seven-time world champion visibly disappointed and searching for answers.

Nico Rosberg, who once engaged in a fierce rivalry with Hamilton during their time as teammates at Mercedes from 2013 to 2016, offered his insights into Hamilton’s mood. 

Rosberg noted, “Lewis Hamilton was really down after qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix because he still hates to come behind his team-mate.” 

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While the two had battled intensely on the track, Hamilton managed to secure back-to-back F1 world titles in 2014 and 2015, with Rosberg finishing as the runner-up.

The climax of their rivalry occurred in 2016 when Rosberg clinched his first world title, narrowly edging out Hamilton by a mere five points before retiring from Formula 1. 

Hamilton, on the other hand, continued his career and has since secured four additional world titles. 

Despite his enduring success, Hamilton’s recent qualifying performance in Monza left him unsatisfied.

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Reflecting on the disappointing outcome, Hamilton voiced his initial optimism during the session, stating, “It started off actually in P1, run one, it was the best the car felt but it’s fallen off since then.” 

When pressed for the cause of his struggles, he simply replied, “I don’t know.” 

Expressing concerns about making up ground during the race, Hamilton added, “I think we are all similar pace. 

“What is impressive is how quick the Williams is – to be leapfrogged by the Williams and McLaren, it’s not easy. 

“George did a great job today so I just go to progress somehow. 

“The Williams will be impossible to overtake as they’re fastest on the straights, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Rosberg, analysing Hamilton’s performance, remarked, “It was just a bit strange from Q2 onwards Lewis started to struggle a little bit even though in Q1 he was going well on the hards. 

“It’s a challenge because you go from hard to medium to soft so the balance of the car can run away from you a bit. 

“Being a little bit off with the balance can cost you a lot of time so for some reason Lewis just didn’t find his way here today. 

“It can happen that you have a day like that. You can see he’s really down; he still hates to come behind his teammate. 

“That’s still the case.”

In stark contrast to Hamilton’s disappointment, his Mercedes teammate George Russell maintained an optimistic outlook. 

Russell acknowledged the challenges of the new qualifying format, emphasizing the importance of adapting to different tire compounds. 

He stated, “You need to be dynamic in this new qualifying format as you jump down the tyre compounds, and I think we did a good job managing it today. 

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“The engineers did a great job overnight and we hit the ground running this morning; I felt more comfortable in the car. 

“With the softer tire compounds Pirelli have brought here, I think there’s the option to tune the set-up more aggressively for qualifying or favoring the race pace a little bit more. 

“We’ve done the latter, so I hope it pays off tomorrow.”