Lewis Hamilton has had a tough run in the 2022 F1 championship with a series of below-par performances in five races so far. The seven-time world champ lost the championship to Max Verstappen last year after a controversial race during the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi. The Briton started well during the 2022 season by securing a podium in Bahrain. However, the Mercedes driver has not been able to compete with the front-running Ferrari and Red Bull since.
Meanwhile, George Russell has been a surprise package for Mercedes during his first season for Mercedes. The former Williams driver was expected to evolve at Mercedes. However, the 24-year-old has shocked everyone with his performances this season. He has secured almost double points compared to his teammate Lewis Hamilton after the first five races of the campaign. Russell acquired his first podium finish of the season during the Australian Grand Prix. George has also finished ahead of Hamilton in the last four racing, giving rise to the speculations that Mercedes are considering Lewis as the secondary driver.
However, the team principal has denied all the rumors suggesting that the seven-time world champ is now No. 2 at Brackley. Moreover, F1 experts like Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve have claimed that Russell is the superior driver presently. The Mercedes boss has shared a diplomatic view on the whole scenario, ranking Russell over the veteran Hamilton.
Toto Wolff Dismisses Claims Of Russell Being The No. 1 Driver
The Mercedes boss acknowledged that he overheard a few comments about the issue, and he hardly followed them. Toto admitted that Russell is doing a great job. And that is exactly why Mercedes hired him and expected from him. Moreover, Wolff told that he did not notice anything about it on the team. The former racing driver added, \”These are background noises played through the press. Lewis and George push each other.
With his contract ending in 2023, there have been rumors that Hamilton might consider leaving the German manufacturer earlier than expected. Ferrari and Red Bull\’s dominance have put Mercedes on the back foot early in the season. Moreover, the Silver Arrows have struggled with their new W13 built as per the new regulations. The car has troubles with extreme porpoising and lack of performance, making Mercedes the third-fastest team of the season behind Red Bull and Ferrari. Wolff acknowledged the frustrations of the Mercedes drivers and hinted that the racing team is unlikely to win the championship in 2022. George Russell is 45 points behind Ferrari\’s Charles Leclerc in the drivers\’ standings.
Further, Wolff revealed that the team still doesn\’t understand the W13 well. During Friday\’s training in Miami, the Silver Arrows were among the fastest. However, suddenly everything was different on Saturday, with the drivers struggling after little tweaks. The team principal shared, \”Minimal changes in the setup have a big impact.\”
The Mercedes team will look to win their first race of the 2022 season in Barcelona with some crucial improvements to their car. However, it will be interesting to witness if Hamilton takes the lead against his younger countryman or if Russell continues his dominance over the 37-year-old during the upcoming weekend in Barcelona.