Only beating Lewis Hamilton three times this season, Peter Windsor says George Russell doesn’t look like the “George that’s been giving Lewis so much trouble” in the early days as teammates.
Having bided his time with Williams, Russell stepped up to Mercedes last season when he was signed to replace Valtteri Bottas.
The Briton surprised many as he was the quicker of the two to adapt to Mercedes’ bouncing W13, beating Hamilton by 35 points in the standings and also securing the team’s only win of the season with his P1 at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Trouble for George Russell?
This year, though, the tables have turned.
Russell has only thrice finished ahead of his teammate in grands prix, ahead by one place in Saudi Arabia, two in Miami, and again one up in Austria, leaving him trailing the seven-time World Champion by 49 points.
It was more of the same at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend where Hamilton got the better of the 25-year-old in both qualifying sessions, the sprint race and the grand prix.
That Russell made a mistake in the sprint qualifying, “that was a s*** show from start to finish especially my side” he said over the radio, is very unlike the Russell previously seen at Mercedes.
And that, Windsor reckons, will be a boost to his teammate’s confidence.
“George had a big moment of the downhill right-hander after Les Combes, he’d gone off, and it just looked a bit messy,” the former Ferrari and Williams team manager said in a YouTube stream.
“Everything was kind of very nice over the radio, and everything was classic George, but he just doesn’t look like the George that’s been giving Lewis so much trouble certainly at the start of the year and last year.
“Lewis must be feeling more confident now as a result of that.”
But while Hamilton may be more confident in the teammate tussle, Mercedes’ season continues to fluctuate with the team seemingly taking one step forward and “two backward”.
Although they have overhauled Aston Martin for second place in the Constructors’ Championship, extending that gap to 40 points, out on track it’s McLaren who have come to the fore of late with their upgraded MCL60.
“Every step forward you get sort of two backward, that’s kind of how it seems, and particularly now with McLaren with the Mercedes power unit going so well,” Windsor added of Mercedes’ season.