‘Toughest teammate’ George Russell faster than Lewis Hamilton to sway Mercedes heads ahead of 2024 challenge

Mercedes has been heavily dependent on Lewis Hamilton to bring it success over the past decade, with the mercurial Stevenage-born driver achieving six world championships with the Silver Arrows at the start of the turbo-hybrid era.

Barring his defeat to Nico Rosberg in 2016, Hamilton has largely dominated all the teammates he has been paired with during his time at the Brackley-based team.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Credit: planetf1.com
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Credit: planetf1.com

George Russell, therefore, offered Hamilton a reality check when he outscored the 38-year-old in his debut season at the Silver Arrows.

Although Hamilton managed to reestablish his superiority over the man who is dubbed the future of Mercedes, there is no doubt that Russell can give his senior teammate a run for his money as the team looks to prepare a new car for their 2024 challenge.

Even statistically, Russell has proven that he is Hamilton’s ‘toughest teammate‘ at Mercedes.

As per the research, Russell has been “extremely close to Hamilton consistently”.

Hamilton may well have performed better than Russell en route his P3 finish in the drivers’ standings, but stats show that the 25-year-old was was 0.021% faster than the former McLaren driver during qualifying.

There is no secret that Hamilton continues to be one of the best drivers on the grid and this stat stands out even more as a result.

Russell may well be the man that will lead Mercedes into the new era, but he is full of admiration for his senior, calling him the GOAT of the sport.

This admiration doesn’t get in the way of Russell’s self-belief, having already claimed that he doesn’t intend to play second-fiddle to Hamilton like his predecessor Valtteri Bottas.

Naturally, tension can arise in such a situation as both drivers eventually also end up competing against each other despite being part of the same team.

It has resulted in some tasty exchanges too, with Russell speaking on the team radio during the Japanese Grand Prix: “Who do we want to fight here? Each other or the others?”

Hamilton may be fully focused on giving himself the best chance of getting an elusive eighth world championship, but insists that his relationship with Russell is still strong even though they have had heated moments.

Speaking with Sky Italy after the duo crashed in, Hamilton said: “I think we are a great team. George and I still have a great relationship. We will discuss things and work away“.

Read more: Daniel Ricciardo provides remarkable driving stat to present fresh case for immediate contract offer from Red Bull

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