Russell: No rivalry, Hamilton is the captain

Michelle Foster

2J1RHJ1 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 27th Mar, 2022. #63 George Russell (GBR, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team), #44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team), F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 27, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia . (Photo by HIGH TWO) Credit: dpa/Alamy Live News

George Russell has explained he feels no need to fight Lewis Hamilton for what can be perceived as the number one spot at Mercedes.

That is because Hamilton, with his seven World titles, is the “captain of the team and that’s how it should be”.

This season, Mercedes have found themselves in a very different position to the past eight years, the Brackley squad fighting just to be in podium contention never mind win races.

Hamilton and Russell each have one top-three showing, but that is by no means the goal for a team that have won seven of the last eight Drivers’ titles and a record eight successive Constructors’ Championships.

With the team-mates’ main focus right now being on ensuring Mercedes recover, the expected fireworks between the seven-time former World Champion and the pretender to his throne have yet to materialise.

Russell reckons that is not so much because of Mercedes’ on-track position, rather because of where the team-mates are in their careers.

“I think we are at different stages of our careers, there’s no hard feelings either way,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.

“From my side, I’m 24 years old going against the greatest of all time. If he finished ahead of me, obviously I don’t like it but I won’t cry and sulk about it.

“Equally, from Lewis’ side, he has achieved so much – he’s a seven-time World Champion, he holds records.

“You see it sometimes when you have two drivers who are at the same stage of their career, both fighting for…there’s no number one or number two at Mercedes but in the back of all drivers’ minds they are fighting for that top leadership spot – ‘I want to be the one’.

“Whereas from both of us there isn’t that.”

But even if there was, Russell concedes Hamilton with his past success is very much the “captain” at Mercedes and that is “how it should be”.


“Lewis has been here so long,” he continued. “I’m the new kid at the team.

“I’m not going to go out there trying to be the leader of the team when I’m going up against the greatest of all time who’s been here for 10 years.

“He’s like the captain of the team and that’s how it should be.”

It is, however, Russell who is higher in this year’s Drivers’ Championship, the Briton having scored 37 points to sit P2.

He has managed three successive top-five finishes whereas Hamilton lost out in Saudi Arabia. He has just 28 points to his tally.


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