The 2023 Formula One season has begun. So far, with the two races that Red Bull entirely dominated, two things are very much transparent and certain. Max Verstappen is the first title contender of the 2023 world championship, and Lewis Hamilton is out of the three-way battle.
Recently, Felipe Massa, who once was a Ferrari driver, emerged to claim that instead of Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes will have George Russell to battle with Max Verstappen and other contenders for the championship win. The Brazilian warns the two-time world champion about how strong George Russell could get in the upcoming Formula One season. However, not only Massa a lot of other people, including Damon Hill, is now convinced that Russell is the better one Mercedes has.
This is because he is accustomed to driving weak cars during his tenure with the Williams. But Lewis Hamilton has no experience with cars like W13 and W14. He easily gives up and claims this is not a championship-winning car. On the other hand, Russell gets to push it harder because whatever Mercedes provides, it remains the best car he has ever received in comparison with the sister team Williams.
Drivers Compatible For Battling With Max Verstappen
In an interview with the Bild, Felipe Massa tried to evaluate the fact that George Russell could be a threat to Max Verstappen in the future. However, by no means the former Ferrari driver sidelines Lewis Hamilton. He knows that Hamilton has seven titles; like Schumacher, he did things like Ayrton Senna, and he defeated Sebastian Vettel. So no offense, Hamilton need not prove his potential. But, unfortunately, the current scenario is not speaking in favor of the seven-time world champion.
Speaking of the other drivers who keep the capability to initiate strong battles with Max Verstappen, Felipe named “Charles Leclerc.” The Monegasque driver, who often just misses winning due to Ferrari’s failure, is never ruled out by anyone who predicts the future world champions of Formula One. Massa keeps faith in Leclerc, as he holds power to beat the Red Bull superstar. Just a good strategy, a strong car, and luck is all Charles needs to become a threat.
George Russell Remains The Best Opponent For Verstappen
Felipe named those drivers too, who are incompatible for creating a competitive battle for the championship. For the names, he specifically mentioned Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz. Both are the second lead drivers of their teams, Red Bull and Ferrari, respectively. But unfortunately, both still need to be more consistent, as they are comparatively low in front of their teammates. And compared to Max Verstappen, there is no one in the world at present as fast as him.
Meanwhile, when Felipe Massa took the name of the most threatening driver for Max Verstappen, George Russell topped the list. The main reason why the 25 years old Mercedes driver is considered brilliant at present is the fact that he defeated the seven-time world champion with the same car by 34 points last year. It was his first year in Mercedes, and he won his first race with the worst car that Mercedes had ever built. When Hamilton lost everything, his streaks and dignity, Russell claimed it. So yes, indeed, there is a reason why he could be the best with the best car that Mercedes will provide him.