Lewis Hamilton’s overall feeling with the Mercedes W14 is helping him come out on top against George Russell, according to a former F1 driver.
While the Hamilton/Russell battle was won by the younger Mercedes driver in their first year together as Hamilton spent a good portion of the year experimenting with various setups in a bid to help the team overcome their design issues, this year has been much more one-sided.
In what Russell himself has decried as a crappy year on his side, Hamilton has had the legs more often than not than his compatriot and, with two races to go, still has a small chance of securing the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship with a points tally currently 70 clear of Russell.
Timo Glock: No mental struggle on George Russell’s side
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com, former F1 driver turned pundit Timo Glock believes Russell’s struggles this year alongside his teammate are not mental – in contrast to those being encountered by Sergio Perez alongside Max Verstappen.
“I don’t think he’s struggling mentally, I think things just didn’t work out for him this year,” Glock told PlanetF1.com, with thanks to LuckyBlock.com.
“He was unlucky in a couple of races and the development just maybe doesn’t fit his driving style at the moment, or maybe he just can’t get 100% out of the package at the moment.
“You could hear, from Austin on, that the steps they did at Mercedes just sort of work better for Lewis than for George.
“But, on the other side, it is very difficult to get things right in with a car which, every time, performs differently. I mean, if you see the pace they had in Mexico, and then they show up in Brazil and they’re nowhere, let’s say, you can see that the window of the car is very small.
“They still don’t understand 100 percent why they are quick and why they are slow. So that makes it difficult as well, for a driver to get in the right direction.
“I think, at the moment, it’s just the pure feeling that seems to be better for Lewis. George is just struggling a bit more to get in the right direction with the car.
“I think if they have a car, which is 100 percent understandable and logical, then for sure they will be closer together again.
“I don’t think George is in a situation where he would mentally struggle, I think he knows that he’s quick enough. He knows what to do. But, at the moment, the tools are just not working the right way, I would say.”
Timo Glock: It’s up to Toto Wolff to turn things around at Mercedes
While Mercedes looks set to secure second in the Constructors’ Championship, their runner-up spot is very distant from Champions Red Bull, who could have wrapped up the title with just Verstappen by himself – let alone if they had two drivers firing on all cylinders.
Mercedes have won just one race in the ground-effect regulations era, and look no closer to consistent victories than they did at the start of the regulation cycle. But Glock says there’s no reason to doubt that team boss Toto Wolff can bring the team back to winning ways.
“He got tested to build up a team like this in the early stages,” Glock said.
“And to keep the momentum in the team over the long time they were winning and dominating.
“That’s another big thing – to keep the group together, to keep the people motivated. But, of course, now they are facing a totally different situation. It’s two years they are not on top of their game anymore.
“Now it’s time to steer the ship in the right direction. That’s down to Toto to get things right. But he’s very experienced in that and I’m pretty sure he knows what to do and how to get the group together and get the car in the right direction.
“If they have the right tool, the right car, they still will be there and still know how to win championships.
“But the question is, do they find the reason why things that they develop in the wind tunnel don’t perform on the track at the moment, like they think they should?
“That’s something they need to find out and it’s very important that Toto finds a way to keep the team together and get it in the right direction again.”