Theory emerges over Lewis Hamilton’s ‘worst race’ after George Russell overtake

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton looks downbeat in the Mercedes garage with George Russell in the background

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes farewell is not going to plan, but George Russell has responded well after an untidy 2023

Passed by George Russell late in the Canadian GP, F1 pundit Tom Clarkson believes Lewis Hamilton’s “worst race” claim was a “message” to his team-mate.

Mercedes recorded their best result of this season last time out in Montreal when Russell, having started on pole position, finished on the podium with Hamilton behind him in fourth place.

Lewis Hamilton labelled Canada his ‘worst race’

Despite that P4 being his best result of the campaign, Hamilton declared after the race that it was a “really poor performance from myself.”

He added: “Some other things came into it yesterday, but mostly myself and today just one of the worst races that I’ve driven. Just lots of mistakes.”

It was a surprise admission, especially as Hamilton’s previous best Grand Prix result was only a P6.

Clarkson and Natalie Pinkham debated it in the latest F1 Nation podcast with the latter saying: “He actually said it was one of his worst races for a very long time.

“Talk about self-chastisement and the blame game. Very publicly shouldering the responsibility of that.

“Was it that bad of a race?”

Clarkson replied: “No. But wasn’t that partly because George had overtaken him?

“He wanted to get the message out that ‘George, you only overtake me when I’m having a really rubbish race.’ Is how I read that.”

Pinkham felt Clarkson was reading too much into Hamilton’s statement, saying: “I think you’re taking too deep a dive into the psychology.

“Whatever he says, people will spin it aren’t they? They say ‘one moment you blame the upgrades, then next you’re blaming the team.’

“No, he’s holding his hands up. Here is a good guy, blaming himself, saying ‘I wasn’t good enough today’.”

“I thought it was amazing to hear. This is a man that doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone and he was still prepared to own it in that moment.”

“I feel for these drivers!” she added. “They can’t say anything without being dissected by us! Maybe it’s just a throwaway statement.

“If your worst race is coming fourth then things are improving at Mercedes.”

Perhaps most telling in Hamilton’s thoughts on his race was his silence when team boss Toto Wolff came over the radio and told him: “Lewis, the positive is the car is back in performance and we get on from here.”

Hamilton, in a clip posted by the official F1 channel, just sat behind the wheel of his W15 not responding to his team boss.

Wolff was later asked about his drivers’ self-criticism with Russell also highlighting his “too many errors”.

The Austrian replied: “I think when you finish third and fourth where we have been coming from, then it’s a positive race.

“Three and four is much better than what we had in the last few races, so that’s good, but I think both drivers saw that more was up.

“We could have maybe gained a position or two and that’s why there is a kind of negative sentiment that prevails, but if you would have given them third and fourth before the weekend, probably they would have taken it.”

Read next: George Russell ‘overtrying’ theory emerges as Damon Hill casts Mercedes prediction