George Russell couldn’t resist a cheeky dig at his new boss Toto Wolff at the Mercedes launch of their new W13 car. But he was swiftly put back in his place by the Austrian, who joked that he may have to punish the newbie for his disrespect.
Lewis Hamilton and Russell were present in Brackley for the much-anticipated unveiling of the W13 ahead of the new season.
It comes following a dramatic week in the world of F1 after Michael Masi was removed as race director following the controversial end to the 2021 campaign in Abu Dhabi.
Despite that drama, Hamilton, Russell and Wolff all seemed in good spirits when they spoke to Mercedes’ official YouTube channel ahead of the launch.
And as talk turned to a famous photo of Russell asking for an autograph from Hamilton back in 2009, Wolff was unable to prevent himself stirring the pot.
“Well, we’ve definitely seen that both of them have improved since the photo!” quipped Wolff. “I think Lewis ok, but definitely George.”
Russell then fired back: “We’ve got better since then, but I don’t know about you!”
The host of the chat jumped in to joke: “Listen, that is not the way to speak to the new boss. A little lesson in diplomacy, always flatter the new boss.”
Wolff then finished: “That’s one point for you. I will pay you back today.”
During the launch, Hamilton also addressed rumours that he was contemplating retiring in the fall-out to the Abu Dhabi drama.
“I never said I’d stop, I love doing what I do, it’s a privilege. You feel like a family,” he said.
“There’s no feeling like it. It was a difficult time for me, I needed to take a step back, focusing on the present, with my family and creating great moments.
“I decided then I’d attack again, working with Toto and George. It’s exciting, I can feel the energy.
“It doesn’t change me, it’s a positive, new blood, new energy. George had an amazing career so far.
“It’s exciting to see him grow. I’ve had him sitting behind me on the desk.”