‘You don’t need Lewis’: Mercedes warned about Hamilton and Russell

Lewis Hamilton was opposed to Mercedes signing George Russell, as he was comfortable with Valtteri Bottas.

Former Ferrari and Williams manager, Peter Windsor, has raised questions about the dynamic between the two Mercedes teammates, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, implying that Russell’s presence in the team may not have been Hamilton’s choice.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, had been notably vocal in expressing his appreciation for his former Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, during their tenure together at the team. 

The 38-year-old champion actively advocated for the retention of the Finnish driver beyond the 2021 season. 

However, despite Hamilton’s endorsement, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff chose not to renew Bottas’s contract. 

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Instead, Bottas made the transition to Alfa Romeo, where he has encountered a challenging 18 months in the competitive lower midfield.

Speaking about the current state of affairs at Mercedes following the Japanese Grand Prix, Peter Windsor offered insights into the team’s decision-making process. 

Windsor explained, “The point is this should also be seen in the context of Lewis telling Toto endlessly to keep Valtteri, ‘He’s exactly the right guy,’ and [Toto saying], ‘No no, no, we’ve got to have the next generation, George is the next generation, and quicker.'”

Windsor acknowledged the role of media in shaping perceptions, with some pundits arguing that Bottas was not sufficiently quick compared to Russell. 

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Windsor shared his perspective, stating, “I just come back to my thing of… if you’ve got Lewis, you don’t actually need George. 

“If you’ve got George, you don’t need Lewis. 

“It’s an imbalanced team, always has been, always will be, and that is the problem with it.”

While Lewis Hamilton has expressed public support for George Russell, their on-track interactions this season have not always been without tension. 

The Japanese Grand Prix featured a notable incident where Hamilton pushed Russell wide on the exit of Spoon corner, leading to a frustrated radio message from Russell.

In contrast, Hamilton’s relationship with Valtteri Bottas during their time as Mercedes teammates was marked by a lack of such on-track confrontations. 

Reflecting on their partnership earlier this year, Hamilton highlighted their ability to communicate and support each other.

Hamilton remarked, “There is always this delicate path to walk down, and it’s very easy to be on the wrong side, and you fall out. Valtteri and I never fell out. 

“We always just spoke on things. 

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“He was very much just like he’s got to do a better job, or I’ve got to do a better job if one of us beat each other. 

“And we worked together to try and push the team together. 

“We had amazing years together where he supported me, and I supported him.”