George Russell has been told he’s “special” and that he’s handling his Mercedes car “better than Lewis Hamilton.” Russell has replaced Valtteri Bottas at the Silver Arrows and has outshone team-mate Hamilton during the early stages of the new F1 season.
Mercedes dominated F1 for almost a decade and landed eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships between 2014 and 2021. But ahead of the new season, teams were forced to redesign their cars in the wake of a whole host of regulation changes. And Mercedes have failed to find a winning formula as they have been left in the shadows of rivals Ferrari and Red Bull.
Hamilton has been well off the pace in the early rounds of the season and is seventh in the Drivers’ Championship after finishing 10th in Saudi Arabia and 13th in Imola. Russell, meanwhile, hasn’t finished outside the top five in any of this year’s races and is fourth in the overall standings.
And former F1 driver and current commentator Martin Brundle has lauded Russell for his efforts. “I think George is handling a bad car better than Lewis is,” said the 62-year-old. “George has still got all the motivation and the enthusiasm, and he has had three years of manhandling a Williams around, getting better results than it perhaps should have done.
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“There’s a lot of time to be found if they can find the solution,” added Brundle. “There must be a point coming soon where they have to accept that this car and concept doesn’t work and have a redesign for the second half of the season.
“In which case, what are you going to do? I can’t imagine the team want to copy somebody else’s concept. With cost-cap and a 23-race season it’s a really difficult situation Mercedes find themselves in. The next race or two, starting here, is critical for them solving the problem. Can they understand it? Can they fix it?”