Lewis Hamilton Shoulders the Blame for ‘S**t’ Show Only Hours After Mercedes Favoritism for Russell Surfaces

Published 09/22/2023, 12:45 AM EDT

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Few would have thought that Lewis Hamilton would go winless in F1 for over 21 months. Such has been the reality for Mercedes & the seven-time champion in the last 2 seasons. While the car has been a clear issue, Lewis believes he also has something to do with his awful results. The Briton cited how he has struggled with one of his best F1 skills – qualifying. His teammate George Russell is often deemed by many as an excellent qualifier. So is that something Hamilton is thinking about psychologically?

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Lewis underscored his qualifying difficulties ahead of the Japanese GP. Meanwhile, George Russell was buzzing about the fact that he was the Brackley team’s prime contender for victory less than a week ago in Singapore. Although, is it too soon for Mercedes to place their bets on George week in, and week out, especially after what happened in Marina Bay?

Is George Russell taking the Mercedes baton with Lewis Hamilton struggling?

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At the Japanese GP, George Russell cited a conversation with one of the Mercedes engineers, reflecting a sense of favoritism toward him. He said, “I had a nice call from one of the chief engineers who said ‘George, the only reason we had a chance of victory was because of the amazing job you did the whole weekend.”

via Reuters

It may sound a bit odd that the Silver Arrows trust Russell after his erratic crash in Singapore. However, they think it is part & parcel of the sport & things like these will happen at a street circuit. The crucial aspect is, whether Russell is going to be the main man from hereon for the team. Many would argue that Lewis would have won in Marina Bay had he been ahead of his teammate.

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Lewis Hamilton certainly may want to believe so. But his statements about his qualifying struggles instead reflect a defensive mindset. The Briton stated as quoted by uol.com.br, My qualifying has been s**t in the last two years. That has to change. I’m being direct. Terrible. Far below average. That needs to change.”

Hamilton always makes such underplaying statements. So, it is worth watching whether this is another one of those. If it is then he shall light up the track with his qualifying in Suzuka. The bigger thing would be to watch how Russell bounces back from his Singapore crash & if he can maintain an advantage over his 38-year-old teammate.

A Mercedes Battle Royale at the Japanese GP or struggle for Top 5 recognition?

The Mercedes cars have been pretty strong in race pace over the last 2 years. However, Suzuka is a narrow track & thus qualifying will be crucial for a good result. Thus, the Brackley-based team needs to figure out a trade-off to get George Russell & Lewis Hamilton toward the front of the grid for a shot at the podium. This has been the story of the season for Mercedes – either have a promising weekend throughout in the top 5 or make a recovery from the lower trenches of the field (at least with either of the cars).

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So what will Suzuka offer the W14s? Many expect Red Bull to be supreme. Therefore, Max Verstappen certainly won’t yield P1 unless for reliability or awful strategy. That leaves Mercedes with the other 2 podium places. With McLaren bringing their full set of upgrades, this could become a gruesome battle between the Silver Arrows & the Papaya outfit for the podium.

via Imago

Going on recent form, one would expect McLaren to be slightly ahead on pace. However, if Mercedes pulls off a smart strategy ala Singapore, never count them out for a similar podium charge. This of course is contingent on whether Ferrari shows up at the Japanese track with some pace in hand or not. Having won in Marina Bay, they will be quite hungry to carry on their hot streak of form. Thus, Hamilton & Russell may be left struggling to get into the top 5 eventually.

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Please comment down your predictions as well for the 2023 Japanese GP!

WATCH THIS STORY | Lewis Hamilton Expresses Gratitude to Sebastian Vettel for Saving Him in “Brave” Fashion From Horrific Reality of F1

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Written by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is an F1 Author & Editor at EssentiallySports. Having completed his postgrad, he has set out to venture into the world of Sports Journalism. He is an ardent fan of F1 and has been following the most prestigious form of motor racing for over a decade now.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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