Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he could not ask for a better driver line-up than Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
The Silver Arrows had kept a stable partnership of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas from 2017-2021, but with Bottas signing for Alfa Romeo for 2022 and beyond, that cleared the way for Mercedes to promote their junior driver Russell into that vacant seat after three seasons with Williams.
And while Mercedes are not currently in a position to fight for the titles in 2022 as they would have hoped, Russell nonetheless has consistently been maximising the W13, finishing no lower than P5 across the opening five rounds.
With 59 points on the board, Russell finds himself 23 points ahead of Hamilton, though that statistic does not tell the full story, with the timing of the Safety Car in particular costing Hamilton on numerous occasions already this season.
Wolff has been very impressed with Russell’s start to life as a full-time Mercedes driver, though he always knew that the Brit possessed such talent.
And combined with Hamilton and how the duo work together, Wolff says he could not ask for more in a driver pairing.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, Wolff said: “When you look at George’s track record in winning the title in F3, in his rookie year, and then in F2, we knew that he was very good.
“And then obviously the Williams school, added its part, so we were never in any doubt that he would be very good. And you can see that it’s materialising on the track.
“I like his approach very much. He’s very rational, whether he is fastest in P2, or whether he’s eleventh, it’s just about applying the science and trying to make the car faster.
“But at the same time, Lewis was obviously very unlucky, being stuck in a DRS train last time around [at Imola], so I enjoy seeing them working together, the level is high from both of them.
“And that has put us in a decent situation in the Constructors’ Championship, so I couldn’t wish for any better pairing.”
Next up is the Spanish Grand Prix, a race which will be crucial for Mercedes in terms of their concept for the W13.
The zero-pod approach is yet to pay off for the German outfit, but the return to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya will allow them to directly correlate the data against the fatter sidepods which they used in the pre-season shakedown there.
It’s decision time for Mercedes in Spain
Mercedes have had a tough start and, with upgrades due, the time has come to see if they can claw back any pace.