Concerning George Russell stance as Lewis Hamilton bemoans ‘inconsistent’ W15 – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

George Russell's 2024 performance level could decide Mercedes' future driver signing, believes Natalie Pinkham.

It is time to bring you up to speed with the latest key Formula 1 headlines on a Saturday where Max Verstappen claimed pole for the Australian Grand Prix.

While Verstappen was on fine form, as always, at Albert Park, Lewis Hamilton was left trying to get his head around the “inconsistency” of the W15, a concern which Mercedes team-mate George Russell does not share. Let us dive into the action.

Lewis Hamilton scuppered by mind-boggling W15

Less than a tenth off the ultimate pace in FP3, it looked like Hamilton could be a dark horse for Australian GP pole. As it turned out, he failed to even make Q3.

Thus, Hamilton was left to chew on that Mercedes W15 “inconsistency” which “really messes with the mind”.

Read more – Lewis Hamilton says ‘inconsistency’ in W15 ‘really messes with the mind’ after Q2 exit

George Russell not suffering ‘fluctuations’ like Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes are not where they wanted to be in the pecking order early in F1 2024, though Russell did enjoy a stronger outing than Hamilton on Saturday at Albert Park, even if P7 on the grid was the best that he could manage.

Russell therefore stretched his streak of qualifying triumphs over Hamilton to five, while worryingly for Hamilton, Russell claimed that he is not experiencing “the fluctuations in confidence or performance” that his seven-time World Champion team-mate is.

Read more – Concerning Lewis Hamilton W15 statement delivered by George Russell at Australian GP

Toto Wolff accepts Mercedes cannot catch Red Bull…for now

While Red Bull has reinforced their position as F1’s dominant outfit in F1 2024, Mercedes are not able to even call themselves Red Bull’s closest challenger at this stage, with that tag going to Ferrari.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff remains optimistic that Red Bull are not a target out of reach for his team, but he accepts that “it’s an illusion to grow closer to Red Bull in the short term”.

Read more – Toto Wolff admits ‘illusion’ for Mercedes to get close to Red Bull after ‘underwhelming’ qualifying

Max Verstappen would be on the plane home in Logan Sargeant’s position

There are only 19 cars left running at the Australian Grand Prix, since Alex Albon has been given team-mate Logan Sargeant’s Williams after writing his own off in FP1.

And Verstappen has said he would have already caught his flight home in Sargeant’s situation, joking that he would have “flattened” his car first to stop his team-mate using it.

Read more – Max Verstappen jokes he would ‘flatten’ his car and leave in Logan Sargeant’s position

Ex-tennis star injured in Fernando Alonso incident

During Friday practice, Alonso suffered an off at Turn 10, his Aston Martin sending the gravel flying as he drove through and returned to the tarmac.

And former tennis world number four Jelena Dokic took to social media to reveal that said gravel struck her right eye, leaving her requiring treatment at Albert Park.

Read more – Former tennis star suffers eye injury in Fernando Alonso Australian GP incident