Praising George Russell several times after their double podium in Spain, F1 pundit Peter Windsor wonders if that’s genuinely how Lewis Hamilton feels about his team-mate.
Teaming up at Mercedes last season, Russell became only the third team-mate in Hamilton’s F1 career to beat the seven-time World Champion in the standings, 275 points to 240 with 25 of Russell’s points coming from his victory ahead of Hamilton at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
That marked Mercedes’ only win of the championship with Hamilton recording his first win-less season in Formula 1.
This year the seven-time World Champion has edged ahead of his team-mate, not only grabbing Mercedes’ first podium of the season in Australia but also beating him in the team’s first podium double in Spain.
Hamilton was quick to praise Russell after their 2-3 finishing, saying his team-mate did a “great job” while later speaking to Sky Sports about having the “strongest team” on the grid, “particularly George and I punching out great results weekend-in, weekend-out.”
But while the bro-fest continues, Windsor admits he wonders if that’s really how Hamilton feels about his younger team-mate.
“A really, really good drive by Lewis and a very, very good drive too by George Russell,” the former Ferrari and Williams team manager said in his latest YouTube review.
“There seems to be absolutely no animosity at all between those two and the way they behaved after the race – two drivers in complete harmony with one another, two good buddies, Lewis very happy for George.
“I wonder if that’s what he really feels inside. We’ll see as the season progresses.”
Because as the season progresses Windsor predicts Mercedes, more than any other team, could be the outfit that brings an end to Red Bull’s race-winning streak.
Mercedes though, he says, will need Red Bull’s help to do that.
“Mercedes showing real and genuine pace blew not only Ferrari way, but also Aston Martin,” he continued. “Mercedes can only come away from this race thinking ‘yes, we are on the right path now’.
“As I’ve said a couple of times look for certainly Mercedes, if not possibly Aston Martin, to be winning some races towards the end of the year.
“Partly because they’ve been making progress inevitably and partly because Red Bull, if they get into a position where they are impregnable which probably they will be by midseason if not now, will start to back away from spending too much money and budget and time and effort on this year’s car and will focus on the 2024 car.
“As a result it will draw the opposition nearer.
“So it might be a little bit false as it was towards the end of last year when of course Mercedes won in Brazil, not very good in Abu Dhabi two weeks later. But Red Bull were backing away back end of last year, putting a bit of weight on the car just to keep it reliable, it was nothing like as quick as it could have been had they’d been under real pressure.
“And I think it will be the same story in 2023.”