Christian Danner on Lewis Hamilton’s ‘jumbo jet’ ego and ‘chatterbox’ George Russell

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Singapore October 2022.

Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell appear at a fan event before the race. Singapore October 2022.

Mercedes have a “very exciting” line-up in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with Christian Danner saying one has a “jumbo jet” ego and the other is “more of a chatterbox”.

After five years with Valtteri Bottas as his team-mate and “wingman”, Hamilton had a new partner in 2022 with Mercedes junior Russell stepping up from Williams.

While the 24-year-old Briton had the better start to the season, bagging nine successive top-five results, Hamilton came to the fore in the latter part – although it was Russell who bagged the team’s only win, P1 at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

He finished the season fourth in the Drivers’ standings, 35 points ahead of Hamilton, to become only the third team-mate in the seven-time World Champion’s 16 years on the grid to beat him.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff called that “irrelevant”, explaining that the two weren’t fighting for race wins and the World title.

But with the Brackley squad expected to be back in the hunt next season, what has been an amicable relationship could turn on its head.

Danner reckons it could be “very exciting”, especially as the two Britons have very different personalities.

“It was an interesting pairing in terms of personalities,” former F1 driver turned pundit Danner told ‘AvD Motor & Sport magazine’ for Sport1, “because Lewis Hamilton usually lets his ego fly in with the jumbo jet and George Russell is more of a chatterbox who approaches the matter impartially.

“I find it very exciting to have these two in one team.”

Will it be Lewis Hamilton or George Russell in the fight next season?

The Formula 1 paddock seems split as to whether it will be Hamilton or Russell who leads Mercedes’ charge next season.

In fact the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that Mercedes will be up there fighting Max Verstappen and Red Bull for the championship titles.

AlphaTauri team boss Franz Tost has backed Russell to be the team’s lead driver, telling Speedweek.com: “I expect a three-way battle between Max, Charles Leclerc and George Russell, who is already stronger than Lewis Hamilton.”

However, Sky Sports pundit Anthony Davidson is convinced only Hamilton has what it takes.

“The only person I can see that can mount a serious challenge is Lewis Hamilton,” he said last month. “But it’s never a given and I don’t know who the next Max Verstappen will be that comes along one day to bring the fight to him.

“But Lewis at the moment, he’s definitely still good enough without question and he’s the only one that can take this fight to Max .”

Read more: Tom Coronel: It was ‘time to go’ for Lewis Hamilton before he got his ‘bite’ back in 2022