Russell doesn’t expect any conflicts with Hamilton in 2023
George Russell is confident that he will not have any conflicts with his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2023, even if the team is performing well and the drivers are competing for wins and championships.
George Russell said last month, “If our relationship starts to break up, it’s going to have an impact on the team, and ultimately it’s going to go full circle and affect us as well.”
George Russell joined Mercedes at the beginning of 2022, after spending time with Williams at the back of the grid. However, the team faced some challenges, including performance issues with the W13 car, such as ‘porpoising’.
This resulted in the end of Mercedes’ eight consecutive Constructors Championships, and the team could only secure one race win the entire season, which was achieved by Russell in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hamilton focused on significant development work early in the season, while Russell settled in, achieving a series of top-five finishes. As a result, Russell ended the season ahead of Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship.
Russell explained the situation during that period, “We brought a number of test items to every track”, he said, “They were the main development parts. They were always being alternated: one week was Lewis and one week was me, week in week out.”
“He stated that introducing new development items during a race weekend can cause disruptions and to ensure fairness, the team alternates weeks between Lewis and himself.”
It has been suggested that Russell may have had an advantage due to his experience with less competitive cars at Williams, while Hamilton may have struggled to adapt to a less perfect car than the ones he was used to at Mercedes.
Russell acknowledged that Hamilton made more significant changes to the car’s set-up at the beginning of the year, but explained that this was because he (Russell) was already comfortable with the car while Hamilton was still trying to find the right set-up that suited him.
With both drivers expecting to be competitive right from the start of the season against the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari, it also means that they will be competing against each other to be the number one driver at Mercedes (Brackley).
Russell stated that while this will be a new dynamic for both drivers, it doesn’t mean that it will result in the same type of open hostility that Hamilton faced while racing alongside Nico Rosberg in 2016.
Russell said to media before Christmas, “If both of us are fighting for first and second place, it will naturally create a slightly different dynamic, but that’s only to be expected.”
“We will have to respect each other,” Russell said. “I believe that the fact that we are at different stages in our careers will work in our favor.”
“I believe we both showed respect towards each other,” Russell said, “and we understand the significance of that within the team.”
Russell noted that the start of last season’s Mexican Grand Prix was an example of how he and Hamilton could compete against each other without things becoming hostile, as they were able to challenge each other without any issue.
“I think we can build on this and our relationship will probably get stronger as time goes on,” he said. “It feels like we are in this together.”
“If we have a car that can finish first and second, we will be very proud to have played a role in helping the team achieve this,” he said.
Russell conflicts Hamilton 2023 Russell conflicts Hamilton 2023
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