Lewis Hamilton reveals George Russell role in his F1 ‘love-hate story’

Jamie Woodhouse
George Russell talks to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell in conversation with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton admits there are times where he does not want to climb into the cockpit, but his intra-team battles with Mercedes team-mate George Russell provides that shot of motivation.

The union of Hamilton and Russell is now into its second season, Russell having been brought in for the start of F1 2022 to replace Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s team-mate.

And while a pairing which is yet to produce any major flashpoints, the tensions are starting to heat up somewhat.

Lewis Hamilton has days where does not want to compete

Speculation over Hamilton’s Formula 1 career has rumbled on for several years between contract extensions, though his latest has put such talk to bed for now with the seven-time World Champion signed up at Mercedes until the end of F1 2025.

Now at the age of 38, it is safe to say Hamilton did not always expect to still be a Formula 1 driver as he closed in on 40 years of age, though he admitted that he “underestimated” his love for the sport.

That being said, this love does not always vanquish the hate for having to get into the car which he at times battles with.

“I have to admit that I underestimated my love for the sport,” Hamilton told Blick when put to him that he once said we would not see him in an F1 car again at 40.

“But it has become a love-hate story. There are days when I would prefer not to get into the cockpit.”

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This is where George Russell comes in

Hamilton and Russell went to battle on several occasions at the most recent outing in Japan, their tussles at one point reaching the borderline stage as they left the track at the second of the Degner corners.

“Who do we want to fight here? Each other or the others?” Russell asked over team radio after that duel.

But, Hamilton says these battles with Russell help spark some motivation to get in the car and go to work when he is having those feelings of wanting to be elsewhere.

“The duels with my team-mate George also give me the motivation,” Hamilton confirmed.

“You always have to be wide awake.”

Hamilton has wrestled back control in that Mercedes battle during F1 2023, scoring 190 points so far to Russell’s 115, Russell having branded his season a “complete disaster”.

For Hamilton, he remains in the hunt to claim the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship, having reduced the deficit to Sergio Perez to 33 points.

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