Martin Brundle believes it would be “so close to call” between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, if the two were both in a title-challenging car next season.
The Mercedes pair have spent two seasons together as team-mates, with Russell finishing ahead of Hamilton in 2022, but was out-performed by the seven-time World Champion in 2023 as the younger Briton dubbed the year a “scrappy” season on his behalf.
But if the two were to be in title contention, former F1 driver and current Sky F1 commentator Brundle does not have a clear answer as to who would come out on top.
Martin Brundle: ‘So close’ between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in potential title battle
The 2023 season represented the first year since 2011 that Mercedes did not win a race for a whole season, but despite team principal Toto Wolff warning there is “Mount Everest” to climb to catch Red Bull, work is ongoing behind the scenes on the W15 to try and close the gap, and potentially mount a World Championship challenge once again.
Taking part in a Q&A on Sky Sports F1’s website and answering fan questions, one fan asked who would be more likely to win in a title battle out of the Mercedes duo if they were to get back in contention within the next two seasons.
But given how tightly matched they have been together so far, and Russell’s inexperience of prolonged fights at the front in Formula 1, with one win to his name so far in his career, Brundle is unsure how it would play out.
“I think they’re so close, those two, if you look at the stats, but George had a couple of nightmare races this year. That’s a very good question,” Brundle responded.
“It depends if Lewis maintains his current motivation, but it’s so close to call.
“Lewis knows how to do that but George has got youth on his side. I don’t know the answer to that, but I definitely wouldn’t say, ‘oh, Lewis without a doubt, because he’s already a seven-time champion.’ That I would absolutely not say.
“Until George is in a championship winning position, we don’t know if he’s got the head to cope with it.”
Mercedes finished second in the Constructors’ Championship in 2023, with Red Bull having won 21 out of 22 races – 19 of which going to eventual World Champion, Max Verstappen.
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