Toto Wolff told how to manage Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

Mercedes will line up with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for the second season in a row in 2023.

With the 2023 season fast approaching, Toto Wolff has a problem to deal with, but a nice problem.

Unlike the majority of teams of the grid, both Mercedes drivers have proven that they can beat one another at various points in the season, with neither standing out significantly in 2022.

Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion who on his day is unbeatable, however George Russell outscored the 38-year-old in his first year paired with him, also winning a race while Hamilton did not.

Russell will be entering 2023 confident of challenging for the title, should the W14 be competitive, while Hamilton will be hunting for a record breaking eighth world title before he eventually retires.

READ: ‘They’re all switching out’: Lewis Hamilton on Mercedes staff after James Vowles exit

With Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff refusing to favour either driver, former F1 driver Emmanuele Pirro has offered the Austrian some advice.

“At Red Bull, the distribution of roles between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is clear. Max is the stronger driver,” he said.

“But when you have two equal drivers, like Hamilton and Russell at Mercedes or [Charles] Leclerc and [Carlos] Sainz at Ferrari, the team boss then has to support the driver who has more difficulties. Like parents helping a weaker child.

“After that, in the difficult moments, the driver who can bring the extra flash of inspiration will prevail. That makes the difference between the teammates.”

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Mercedes have been warned that the relationship between their drivers could become toxic this season, similar to what happened between Hamilton and his childhood friend Nico Rosberg.

READ: James Vowles’ Williams move accused of having a ‘Mercedes element’

Should both Mercedes drivers be fighting with each other for the championship this season, the team will have to manage a battle within the garage.

Hamilton will be aware that time is running out in his career to win a record breaking eighth world championship, while Russell will certainly not be willing to wait another year to challenge for the title, knowing he has the ability to do so.

With Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes all expected to be in the title race this year, the 2023 season looks set to be one of the most exciting in recent years.