F1 pundit Peter Windsor fears Lewis Hamilton is no longer prepared to push to the absolute limit like Mercedes team-mate George Russell, claiming a lack of “bravery” cost him at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Mercedes endured another challenging weekend on F1’s first trip in four decades to Las Vegas, where Russell qualified third on the grid while Hamilton was eliminated in Q2.
Despite suffering a puncture in a collision with Oscar Piastri, Hamilton recovered to finish as the lead Mercedes driver in seventh – one place ahead of Russell, who made contact with race winner Max Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton’s lack of bravery cost him in George Russell head to head
Speaking via his YouTube channel, 1992 title-winning team manager Windsor pointed to qualifying as a key difference between the pair, with Russell more willing to take risks on a high-speed street circuit than 38-year-old Hamilton.
He explained: “If you wanted to watch any driver in Vegas who would give you sweaty palms, it would be George Russell: absolutely on top of that Mercedes in a way, sadly, I don’t think Lewis Hamilton could ever do now.
“He was full of enthusiasm for this circuit and he actually used the phrase: ‘It’s going to be really good for racing and DRS.’
“I’m wondering if he’s regretting saying that now because this circuit is just about straights, DRS and, if you like from Lewis’s perspective, it’s about bravery.
“Concrete walls everywhere, high-speed braking – Lewis just couldn’t get the best from the tyres on his warm-up laps and his push laps – and it was sad to see because obviously it’s a pretty good car around here.
“I’m not saying it’s as good as a Red Bull [but] that was a very good lap from George Russell, absolutely on the edge and Lewis – quite rightly, I think, for a seven-time World Champion – [was] not prepared to do that.
“Because unlike other circuits this year where there have been tyre-temperature issues – Monaco and Barcelona spring to mind – there aren’t any corners in Vegas where a driver like Lewis can actually start playing around with what he does with the car.
“Maybe slightly longer corners, maybe brake a little bit later, get a bit more energy in the car when you load it up – there isn’t anywhere you can do that in Vegas and that’s where he was struggling because it’s all about braking from high speed and making sure you get the car into the chicane and get a decent exit.”
Russell is the last Mercedes driver to win a race, having taken the team’s most recent victory at the penultimate round of the 2022 season in Brazil.
Hamilton, meanwhile, remains without a win since the Saudi Arabian GP in December 2021.