As the 2023 Formula 1 season unfolds, the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finds themselves in an interesting situation. Russell, the young and promising driver expected to challenge Hamilton’s dominance, is facing a recurring issue of being less competitive than his experienced teammate. This article delves into recent events, unveils a noticeable pattern following Mercedes upgrades, and explores potential explanations behind George Russell’s difficulties in keeping up with Lewis Hamilton’s resurgence.
George Russell’s Recent Challenges As Lewis Hamilton Made A Comeback To Front Grid
After the Mexican Grand Prix, George Russell openly admitted that he was lucky to finish in sixth place, while Lewis Hamilton secured second place behind the reigning champion, Max Verstappen. Russell, who started the race in eighth, had to fend off a late challenge from AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo. These challenges in Mexico highlight Russell’s current difficulties in maintaining the same level of competitiveness as his teammate.
Russell expressed his desire for “clarity” from the team, citing issues with the car in recent races, such as a problem with the brakes in Mexico and a fuel-related complication in Texas during the previous week. The talented driver’s plea for clarity underscores his frustration with the recurring setbacks that have hindered his performance. Hamilton, in contrast, was thrilled with his performance in Mexico and looks forward to the upcoming race in Brazil, emphasizing the hard work of the entire team in improving the car’s setup and achieving better results.
Lewis Hamilton vs. George Russell: The Impact of Mercedes Upgrades
A peculiar pattern has emerged in the performances of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell throughout the 2023 season. This pattern appears to coincide with the introduction of major upgrades by the Mercedes team. We will break down the season into four distinct phases to shed light on this intriguing trend:
- Before Monaco (When the first major upgrade was introduced),
- From Monaco to summer (After the first upgrade)
- After the summer break and before Austin (When the second upgrade was introduced),
- From Austin to the present (After the second upgrade)
Examining the average driver ratings for each driver during these phases reveals a significant contrast in their performance.
- Before Monaco:
- Lewis: 7.5
- George: 8.3
- From Monaco to summer:
- Lewis: 7.8
- George: 6.6
- After the summer break and before Austin:
- Lewis: 6.7
- George: 7.6
- From Austin to the present:
- Lewis: 9.5
- George: 7.0
The data highlights a clear impact of Mercedes upgrades on the performance of the two drivers. Russell’s ratings went down when the Monaco upgrade was introduced and followed a similar trend after the Austin upgrade. In contrast, Hamilton’s ratings saw an upswing with each upgrade.
Possible Reasons for the Performance Disparity Between Mercedes Drivers
Two theories emerged to explain this phenomenon:
- Mercedes is building cars that suit Hamilton’s driving style, making it easier for him to adapt quickly.
- George Russell may struggle to adapt to changes in the car as effectively as Lewis Hamilton.
These theories suggest that either Mercedes is consciously or inadvertently favoring Hamilton in the car’s development, or Russell faces challenges in adjusting to significant changes in the car’s characteristics. Regardless of the cause, the data indicates that Russell’s performance is consistently compromised whenever a major upgrade is introduced.
As the 2023 Formula 1 season progresses, the apparent struggles of George Russell compared to Lewis Hamilton raise questions about the future of the Mercedes duo. Whether the performance gap is a result of car development favoring Hamilton’s style or Russell’s adaptability, it highlights the need for Mercedes to address this issue to maintain competitiveness in the championship. As fans eagerly anticipate the battles on the track, it remains to be seen how the team manages this intriguing dynamic between its two talented drivers.