Ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger believes George Russell will soon begin to frustrate his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The 2022 season has not started on a positive note for Mercedes, the Silver Arrows slipping from the battle at the front to now watching it from behind at the head of the midfield.
With Ferrari and Red Bull establishing dominance early in this new regulatory era, Mercedes in the opening four races have made the podium only twice, Russell and Hamilton scoring a P3 finish each.
Hamilton finds himself 21 points adrift of Russell in the Drivers’ Championship, although bad luck for the seven-time former World Champion can be partly attributed to that, the timing of the Safety Car costing Hamilton in both Saudi Arabia and Australia.
That said, it was a frustrating Emilia Romagna Grand Prix for Hamilton, with Russell the better-performing driver, finishing P4 compared to Hamilton’s P13.
So far, the dynamic between Russell and Hamilton has remained very positive, although Berger reckons that could soon begin to change.
“He will soon get on Lewis’ nerves,” Berger predicts, quoted by Speedweek.com.
“Russell was one of the outstanding drivers at Imola. Like Lando Norris and Max Verstappen.”
Norris comfortably had the beating of Russell at Imola, crossing the line P3 to claim his and McLaren’s first podium finish of the season, representing a remarkable turnaround considering at Round 1 in Bahrain they had been one of the slowest teams on the grid.
Verstappen, meanwhile, led home a Red Bull one-two ahead of his team-mate Sergio Perez, allowing him to cut the deficit to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the top of the standings to 27 points.
Red Bull closed to within 11 points of Ferrari in the Constructors’.
After seeing four race weekends of action in the new Formula 1 cars Berger is impressed, saying there is more overtaking action now while the cars also “look better”.
“Hats off to Ross Brawn (Formula 1 managing director), who was in charge of making the regulations,” said Berger.
“The cars look better, the drivers can overtake, the races are exciting.”
The negative, in Berger’s opinion, is the cars are too heavy, likening them to “small trucks”.
He cites the hybrid technology as the main reason for this.
“The disadvantage is the cars are too heavy, like small trucks,” he said.
“800 kilos is too much. We were on the track with 550 at the time. But the additional weight can be explained by the hybrid formula.”
Russell, Hamilton & Shades Of 2014 - Italian GP Conclusions
Mercedes are struggling with all their issues on the car, and the situation might be getting worse, with the dynamic between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton showing shades of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo with Red Bull back in 2014.