Lewis Hamilton given glaring reality check as George Russell continues to rise up Mercedes pecking order

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton may have expected a far better return at the Belgium Grand Prix compared to the crash with former teammate Fernando Alonso that led to a premature end to his race.

While things didn’t exactly go as per plan for Hamilton, his Mercedes teammate George Russell once again finished just outside the podium to notch 12 crucial points for the German constructors.

Ever since making the move to Mercedes, Russell has put in consistent performances and has shone even more in light of Hamilton’s struggles this season.

Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen believes that Hamilton is just biding his time this season expecting Mercedes to get its act together and present him with a more competitive car next year.

However, the Finn warned Hamilton that if he puts his foot off the pedal even for a bit, Russell will make sure that he pounces on any opportunities that comes his way.

What did Mika say?

Lewis Hamilton. Credit: autosport.com
Lewis Hamilton. Credit: autosport.com

“Yeah, I think, 100% sure he is looking for next year,” Hakkinen said.

“But you cannot slow down, you cannot just expect the way the Mercedes does just a fantastic car next year. It is not guaranteed.

“So what I am trying to say is that young George Russell, he is working flat out at the moment, that way he can be in front of Lewis.”

Hakkinen argued that Russell has shown enough calibre to prove a genuine threat to Hamilton at Mercedes.

“So if Lewis slowing down half a tenth, one-tenth of a second, then George is going to be there immediately. So, this is a very hard business and you’ve to be on peak at every single lap,” he said.

“Every weekend when you race, you have to be at your peak and that is not easy, I tell you. It’s a super challenge, a lot of, it takes so much energy.” 

With 14 races concluded in the season, George Russell has finished all the races in the top 5, except the DNF at the British GP. This has seen him establish a 24-point lead over the F1 legend.

Read more: Max Verstappen’s “greater respect” for Charles Leclerc over Lewis Hamilton has led to incident-free 2022 season: Christian Horner

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