Mercedes Engineers Believe Lewis Hamilton Would Have Outperformed George Russell at Sakhir GP 2020

Published 04/07/2021, 7:36 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: ART Grand Prix Formula 2 driver George Russell of Great Britain and Williams F1 and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 22, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Mercedes have utterly dominated the turbo-hybrid era with Lewis Hamilton as their focal point. He has been with them every step of the way, every race weekend except the Sakhir GP of last year when he had to sit out because of his COVID diagnosis.

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In his absence, the top brass took the shrewd decision of replacing him with George Russell. The Williams’ loanee is an academy product and has been touted as the future star of the team. And he showed flashes of that talent during the topsy-turvy weekend in Sakhir.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and George Russell in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

He was leading from Valtteri Bottas for much of the race when a botched pit stop cost him the win. This led many to believe that he could also dominate or match Hamilton in a similar way. However, the Mercedes engineers are not buying that theory.

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“Lewis’ natural talent makes him adapt very quickly to a track. His pole position’s rate is very high. So you would have presumed, he would have been on pole. You would have presumed that he would have a very good start and he would have led the race. That’s what he does most of the time!” the ‘Brackley Boys’ said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“George did a fantastic job that weekend but you would have to presume having seen what Lewis has done for the last decade, he would have been down the road a little bit.”

‘Was more difficult to work with George Russell than Lewis Hamilton’

Russell was only a late replacement from Williams. Despite him having previously participated in test events with Mercedes, he was still very new to the car and the whole team in general. This did not allow the engineers to go through their regular routine as they would have done with Lewis.-

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“He (Russell) had not had a lot of time in the car with us. We, therefore, tried not to overload him with things we would have liked to have got done. You know, the procedures and test items that we could have engaged with Lewis… So, it was a little more difficult.”

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium with the trophy Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

But they may have to get accustomed to George Russell sooner or later. It would be a major travesty if he is not behind the wheel of their car in the future.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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