After Toto Wolff Decides to Take Lewis Hamilton’s Advice, George Russell Takes Back “Heat of the Moment” Claim Towards Max Verstappen & Co.

Published 04/10/2023, 7:15 AM EDT

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There isn’t a more frustrating scenario for an F1 driver than to helplessly watch a rival cruise past them during a race. Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton experienced this during the Australian GP against Max Verstappen. The speed at which Verstappen passed Hamilton instantly opened a one-second gap between the two, leaving him helpless and without DRS. This scenario frustrated an already downbeat George Russell even more. This led to Russell making sandbagging accusations against Verstappen and Co. However, after reviewing the race in Melbourne, the young Brit has had a change of heart.

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The change of heart is becoming a common theme in the Mercedes garage. After communicating his frustration with the W13 and W14, team boss Toto Wolff finally listened to Hamilton’s advice. The boss set a deadline to bring massive changes to the W14. This change of heart from Wolff was contagious and got to Russell as well as showcased in his comments to Motorsport.com.

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“Obviously, after a frustrating qualifying, like the one we had in Bahrain, you say some things in the heat of the moment.” Russell admitted, “I do still think Red Bull are a class ahead of everybody else and for sure, Lewis and I got the most out of it.” [on Saturday in Australia].

However, George Russell put his faith in his team. He said, “We’re not going to give up, we’re going to keep on pushing. Right now, we’ll have to reassess [the claim] when we bring some upgrades to the car. That will be the first time when we truly know if they work as we expect and if we can fight them. But yeah, why not.”

“LH & Mercedes Poisoned His Mind”: George Russell’s Nasty Jibe at Max Verstappen & Co. Makes Fans Question His Petty Mindset

The young Brit backtracked on his comments and put massive faith in his team’s ability to get them as fast as Red Bull. However, that would’ve never happened if Hamilton hadn’t made his voice heard. Even Toto Wolff admitted to that.

Apart from succumbing to the wishes of Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff also highlighted the importance of the feedback

Initially, the entire Mercedes team, including the boss, was reluctant to accept the zeropod concept doesn’t work. In fact, the team was confident the W14  will showcase the concept’s full potential. However, with the first three races as proof, the Brackley outfit is stepping away from the concept and taking a new direction, as Wolff admitted. This was partly thanks to Hamilton’s feedback.

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“We are dealing with the big concept of the driver’s position. Obviously, this is one of the most important things. It’s about where the driver has the best feeling in the car. This is something that Lewis expresses very clearly. And if a seven-time world champion has an opinion, then it is important to listen to it,” said Wolff to Motorsport-Total.

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WATCH THIS STORY: How a Kitchen Rendezvous Prevented Lewis Hamilton-Toto Wolff “Divorce” 

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It was clearly difficult for the team to admit their concept doesn’t work. However, albeit reluctantly, the team is stepping away from it and toward a hopefully more competitive car. A car that can take the fight to Red Bull, which is the current goal.

The race in Imola should shine more light on Mercedes’ ambitions.

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Written by:

Mahim Suhalka

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Mahim Suhalka is a senior F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having written over 1000 articles, Mahim specializes in core sports coverage. Having followed the sport for a long time, his articles contain excellent analysis of the sport and he dives deeper into the technicalities of this complex sport.
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Edited by:

Varunkumaar Chelladurai

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