Lewis Hamilton and George Russell became teammates in the 2022 season. After the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix, fans had many unanswered questions, particularly about the Mercedes F1 team, who appeared to have switched their driver priorities.
Russell has been better than his 37-year-old teammate throughout the 2022 season and many are concerned that this will have long-term effects on Hamilton.
The British hotshot replaced Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes who mostly served as the #2 driver to Hamilton. Before him, Hamilton was partnered by Nico Rosberg who kickstarted their iconic and infamous rivalry.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were childhood friends as they entered F1 and became teammates at Silver Arrows. The pair was close and celebrated each other’s victories. Unfortunately, the competitiveness of being a World Champion ruined their friendship.
However, the relationship between Russell and Hamilton is unlikely to experience the same fate.
#1 Significant age gap between Russell and Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were of the same age with only five months separating them. However, Russell and Hamilton have a big 13-year age difference, which greatly divides their likes and dislikes.
Russell looks up to Hamilton as a mentor and views this partnership as an opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business. He pulled off a self-made team call at the Dutch GP similar to what Hamilton regularly made in his career.
Hamilton and Rosberg, on the other hand, had a very different relationship. Together, they rose through the ranks in Formula One and had a lot to accomplish to reach the top. Their conflicts appeared to be personal to the extent that Hamilton disobeyed team orders to block Rosberg during the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, even though he knew that the championship was gone.
Russell-Hamilton partnership, however, will most surely not experience the same outcome. Russell takes risks to say ahead of Hamilton, but he won’t fight him too hard purely out of respect. When describing his first encounter with the seven-time world champion, he said:
“It was like meeting a superhero. When you’re a child at that age and you meet an F1 driver, you don’t think those people are human. That was a really special moment for me. I even remember it now, which is quite odd to remember a memory from when you were 11 years old.”
It is unlikely that someone who idolizes Hamilton would get involved in a confrontational battle with him. The young Briton is still very much aware of Lewis’ powerful influence at Mercedes and is just ready to learn more from him.
#2 Rosberg and Hamilton had a special bond which Russell and Hamilton don’t share
The main cause of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s toxic turmoil was their friendship. Hamilton felt betrayed more as a friend than a teammate when Rosberg cheekily parked his Mercedes during the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix to prevent him from finishing his flying lap.
Both had expectations from each other as friends which led them both to be disappointed with the other. Their relationships worsened over time as Mercedes gave them championship-level cars year after year.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, on the other hand, were never friends but have a professional relationship. Also, Hamilton has matured a lot after battling with drivers like Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, and most recently, Max Verstappen.
#3 Mercedes have learned their lessons
Rosberg and Hamilton’s heated conflicts were large because of the fact that Mercedes didn’t select a number one driver until Lewis Hamilton was clearly in the lead (2014, 2015). They never gave team orders and allowed both of them to race each other.
However, with Hamilton not as dominant as before, Mercedes will be careful about handling their situation with Russell.
The 24-year-old has been in red-hot form and had a chance to finish P2 on the basis of his performances alone.
In the upcoming years, it wouldn’t be unexpected if Russell outperforms Lewis Hamilton and becomes the Silver Arrows’ top pick. Then, Lewis Hamilton will have no choice but to serve as the wingman as opposed to the main man.
But with Mercedes taking no chances, it is unlikely that this British duo will suffer the same fate as the British-German line-up.
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