Wolff ‘really happy’ with ‘respectful’ Mercedes drivers

Toto Wolff is delighted with the dynamic between George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is delighted with the relationship Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have built up at the team.

Russell was signed from Williams over the winter to replace the departing Valtteri Bottas, and there was plenty of anticipation as to how he would get on alongside a seven-time champion in Hamilton.

He has handled the pressure admirably well by out-racing him in four of the first five races of the year, although the results in Australia and Miami can be partially accredited to a slice of fortune from the Safety Car.

READ: Hamilton gives candid assessment of Russell’s performance in Miami

The 24-year-old has managed to build a good rapport with his compatriot so far, and Hamilton leads the qualifying battle 3-2, leaving a healthily competitive spirit between the pair.

Their relationship was described as one of the “very few highlights” by Wolff in what has been an otherwise dire season in the pinnacle of motorsport due to the new technical regulations that have seen both of them achieve a best finish of third after capitalising on poor reliability for Red Bull.

The Austrian has continued his appreciation for harmonious working relationship between his drivers that is helping drive the team forward. 

“I enjoy seeing them working together, the level is high from both of them,” he said. 

“And that has put us in a decent situation in the Constructors’ Championship, so I couldn’t wish for any better pairing.

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“I’m really happy about the two of them, how they interact, how respectful they are with each other.”

Russell beat Hamilton to victory last time out in Miami after starting in P12 on the Hards, which he took long into the race looking for a Safety Car.

He grabbed the chance to pit when the Safety Car was deployed following a crash between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly, and he used his fresh Mediums to pass Hamilton late on.

The 37-year-old praised the efforts of his team-mate, and was overall relatively satisfied with the 18 points scored by Mercedes on race day.

“George obviously did a great job in that first stint,” he told RacingNews365.com.

“He was on the best tyre to start with, so, in hindsight, maybe we could have started on the Hard tyre. But again, he did a great job to recover from his position and get the points. 

“We were fifth and sixth today, it’s good points for the team.”

The improved performance in Miami might well have been an indication that Mercedes are beginning to find more pace, but Hamilton lamented that their deficit to Red Bull and Ferrari is still the same as it was at the start of the year.

“We were the same speed as we were in the first race,” he added.

“We’ve just got to keep trying. We have not improved in these five races.

“I’m hopeful that at some stage we will but we have just got to keep trying, keep working hard. 

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“The porpoising was not as bad in Miami – it can vary from track to track, from race to race. It wasn’t really bad in Miami, but we were just not fast.”

Mercedes are currently third in the Constructors’ Championship, 62 points behind leaders Ferrari, and they are introducing upgrades at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix that they hope can launch them closer to the front of the order.