Ralf Schumacher believes George Russell deliberately closed the door on Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Spanish GP, the pundit claiming the team-mates “don’t get along that well”.
Russell and Hamilton clashed during Q2 at the Barcelona circuit when Hamilton, having grabbed a tow off his team-mate, tried to pass down the outside only for Russell to move across the track.
The two collided with Hamilton’s W14 suffering front wing damage.
“George just backed off,” Hamilton said over the radio. “That’s really dangerous. I might have some damage on the car.”
The seven-time World Champion was able to progress to Q3 where he finished with the fifth fastest time while Russell was a disappointing P12.
Mercedes later declared the incident to be a moment of “miscommunication” with Toto Wolff saying it was “just an unfortunate situation”.
Schumacher, however, believes it was deliberate on Russell’s part.
“George didn’t want to give Lewis a slipstream and closed the door,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “This is my analysis.
“The young challenger wants to replace the top dog.”
He went onto say: “They don’t get along that well privately either.”
Russell escaped a penalty for the clash, the former Williams driver instead handed a formal warning by the Barcelona stewards.
But while Wolff went onto insist that Saturday’s incident wasn’t shades of 2016″, the year Hamilton and Nico Rosberg clashed as they fought over the World title, the 2016 World Champion says it does have a familiar tone to it.
“It reminds me a little of 2016,” he said as per F1-Insider. “George didn’t want to let Lewis pass, he but later apologised.
“But I think Lewis also has to apologize: Because he was behind, he has to be more careful in such a situation on fast laps in qualifying.
“It was unfortunate, but I think there are certainly still serious discussions. We mustn’t forget that this rivalry at Mercedes is already intense: George is really there, he’s pushing Lewis very hard.”