“Russell becomes leader in Mercedes F1”

“Russell becomes leader in Mercedes F1”

Former driver and 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that George Russell’s strategy at Zandvoort has shown that he is quickly becoming a leader in the Mercedes team.

Russell finished second at the Dutch Grand Prix, overtaking teammate Lewis Hamilton on the way to the position, after a change in tire strategy.

In the end, the different strategies of the two Mercedes cars didn’t work out for Hamilton, who was leading the race in the Safety Car at the time, but he finished the race in fourth place, showing his anger at the team’s strategists. An outburst of profanity on the team radio.

Meanwhile, Russell asked the team to pit and put new tires on, which they did, and it worked as he finished P2 towards the end of the race, extending his lead over Hamilton to 30 points in the drivers’ championship. .

“I see a change within Mercedes,” Villeneuve said in his Formule1.nl column. “George Russell is quickly becoming a leader in the team. He himself made the decision to switch to soft tyres. Hamilton, with all his experience and the championship, could have done the same.

The Canadian also commented on Hamilton’s speech on team radio, for which he later apologized.

“I was surprised by Hamilton’s explosion in the race and especially the way he did it,” said the 51-year-old former driver.

“He was aggressive, almost offensive. It’s good that he apologized afterwards, but that’s not good for a champion. After all the team has meant to him, he shouldn’t be talking to them like that.”

Villeneuve may have expected somewhat of a real situation at Mercedes, but there will clearly come a time when Russell will be the team’s number one driver, either before or after Hamilton retires.

With Mercedes looking increasingly competitive this season, it will be interesting to see how things play out between the two drivers, and how prophetic Villeneuve’s words may be.

Russell currently sits fourth in the drivers’ championship with 188 points, while Hamilton sits sixth on 158 points, a situation no one would have dared to imagine before the start of the 2022 F1 season.

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