George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, the holy union to bring Mercedes back to the top

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, the holy union to bring Mercedes back to the top

The last time Formula 1 went through Silverstone, in central England, the fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was extremely intense. The Englishman emerged the winner from the 2021 British Grand Prix, playing big cars with his opponent. A year later, the picture changed. It is with very little certainty that Hamilton, his young teammate, George Russell, and their Mercedes team are approaching this home conference, which will begin on Sunday July 3rd.

In nine races this season, the two English drivers have yet to win. On their loan, only five podiums: two for the seven-time world champion and three for the guest for Mercedes.

Behind Red Bull and Ferrari – the two teams that dominate this first half of the season – the German manufacturer holds despite the car, the W13, which Hamilton recently described as “Worst ever run”. But at Canada’s last Grand Prix, on June 19, the second signed a consolation platform, three months after another, in Bahrain, at the start of the season.

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Although the Silverstone circuit is well-suited for Mercedes (soft song and fast angles), team captain Toto Wolff is relatively optimistic: “Our car is happy here, but we do not want to be so confident that we will “bust” everyone. We have been following Barcelona [3e et 5e] and we despaired, he is confident The world.

Technical problems in Mercedes

If he knows that his 2022 edition car still needs a lot of work, the Austrian can rely on his drivers. “Usually, in a barn, everything is divided. Every pilot works with his engineerscelebrates the fiftieth anniversary. Between them, there is a real interaction. »

Mercedes song engineering director Andrew Shovlin gives a similar observation: “George and Lewis are very committed to solving the problems. They are working closely together to try and raise the level of the team because we know we are not fast enough at the moment.”

However, it did not win between the champion, who is known to be tough with his teammates who could compete with him – which was not the case with Finn Valtteri Bottas last season – and the young talent, who is given his first chance at such a fold. . But, since March, in the absence of positive results, it is a holy union in Mercedes, which fights technical problems. In question, in particular, the so-called porpoising, which is to say the effect of rebounds on the track, which causes pilots back and headaches. “The general problems contained in these 2022 vehicles are not far from being solved, analyzes George Russell. We are still far from where we need to be. »

As he enters his fourth season in F1 at the age of just 24, George Russell, known to be in high demand – “He seems to have been with us for ten years.”, surprises Toto Wolff – the best of the two drivers. He is 74 points behind champions Verstappen and Mercedes 116 behind Red Bull in the builders’ standings. Because before you can compete against each other, you must be ready to compete with the fastest cars. The fact that these two pilots are connected. “They know we must first find solutions to the carremembers the team director. We accelerate development if we work together. It is pragmatism. »

Closing the gap with competition

And if the younger one has ruled over the elder seven times out of the nine, there is no point in deleting the image. Because if the controversial loss of his crown, in December 2021, marked Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff noted, this year, “Bad luck” that of “non-performance”. “We will never look forward to the end of last season, but we have to accept itexplains the team boss. It will return in order. Lewis is very strong in his head. »

The German manufacturer is working tirelessly to bridge the gap between the competition. Andrew Shovlin will soon come to regret the period 2013-2016, when Hamilton was vying for the title against teammate Nico Rosberg. “We know how to deal with this situation well. I would like to assume we will handle it better when it happens again,” wants to trust the chief engineer in Mercedes.

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In order to be eligible for the top bout between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, which would divide all British Form 1 fans into two camps, the team will have to reclaim the nicknames of its one-seat contestants. “Silver Arrows”. “The reality is that we need to define the direction of development that will carry us through for many years to come. At the moment, we are still focusing on this championshipanalyzes Andrew Shovlin. There may be a time later in the year when we have to decide: can we do it or not? »

And time goes by because the engineer agrees, “The longer it lasts, the more it becomes impossible”. Can we imagine Lewis Hamilton sitting another year fighting for a place of honor, or even George Russell making a little noise? “It is our responsibility to provide a car that goes fast and can win races and championships.”, claims Toto Wolff. For example from Silverstone.

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