Toto Wolff addresses George Russell outperforming Lewis Hamilton

George Russell finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton at seven of the first eight races in 2022, before Hamilton started finishing ahead of Russell mid-season.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will once again take it in turns to be the more dominant driver in “cycles”, as the Silver Arrows prepare to be amongst the title fight in 2023.

2022 was an odd year for the Germans, as they tried to get to grips with the ‘diva’ that was the W13.

The inconsistent performance from the team’s 2022 challenger resulted in Hamilton’s and Russell’s form to vary, with the former Williams driver having been stronger at the start of the season.

Following the season opener at Bahrain, Russell went on a seven-race streak of finishing ahead of his seven-time World Champion team-mate, before Hamilton then went on a run of finishing ahead.

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This yo-yoing continued throughout the season, with the pair having been incredibly close to each other in the Drivers’ Championship as a result.

Should Mercedes’ W14 be a title challenger then the duo will likely perform more consistently in the upcoming season; however, Wolff is still expecting the pair’s form to vary throughout the year.

The Mercedes boss also revealed that Russell was “very self-critical” about his performances last season, with it being a trait of the Brit’s that “make him a future World Champion”.

“George is always very self-critical, which is one of the assets that make him a future world champion,” Wolff told GPFans.

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“He has now been thrown into the Mercedes works team, we keep developing the car, and if you ask me now, the final results look different.

“Like at the beginning of the year, you could say George was doing very well, and then in the last third of the year, it was Lewis [Hamilton].

“But in terms of optimum performance, we have the combination of the two best drivers, the strongest line-up.

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“And therefore, we are always going to see those cycles, in my opinion between the two.”

Mercedes are set to unveil their 2023 challenger on February 15, with the rumour being that the side’s controversial ‘zero-pods’ have remained as an integral part of the design.

Hamilton and Russell will be hopeful of a significantly better year with the W14, as the team set their sights on getting their Constructors’ Championship back from Red Bull.