Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton no longer enjoys the tag as being the team’s ‘number 1’ driver following George Russell’s impressive start to his Silver Arrows career.
This view has been put forward by long-time Sky Deutschland commentator Sascha Roos.
Ahead of the 2022 season, Mercedes decided to remove Valtteri Bottas from its roster in favour of Russell, who had shown enough promise at Williams and in the one-off race that he deputised for Hamilton.
In his debut season, George Russell managed to end the season with more points than seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
“I didn’t think Russell would score more points than Hamilton in his first year,” Roos said.
“I expect more from Hamilton in 2023 but I put it in pencil whether he is the undisputed number 1. I think it’s a similar situation at Mercedes now as in the time when Nico Rosberg was next to Hamilton,” the 50-year-old continued.
“In the end last season, it was a clear story in Russell’s favour and I think Mercedes handled it very fairly.”
Recently, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recently declared that the Silver Arrows were in negotiations with Hamilton over an extension.
“Lewis is part of the team and the team is part of Lewis,” Wolff said.
“There is no reason for that to not continue.”
This extension is a no-brainer for Roos, who believes that Hamilton’s motivation is still very much present and he will continue to be a vital asset for Mercedes.
“He’s motivated. But I don’t think there will be a situation between Hamilton and Russell as there was between Hamilton and Rosberg.
“At that time, to the outside world, it was always emphasised that Rosberg and Hamilton were on equal footing. But internally, Hamilton was preferred. In my opinion.
“When Valtteri Bottas came in, Hamilton was the clear number 1 to the outside. But Russell is not Bottas. Russell is more likely to enjoy Rosberg’s status.”