2022 is ’changing of the guard’ at Mercedes
"Russell rides the wave, Hamilton tries not to drown"
The world of Formula 1 is witnessing a changing of the guard at Mercedes this year, according to two former drivers.
Jan Lammers, who is now the Dutch GP boss, thinks 24-year-old George Russell is getting "too little credit" for showing the way to seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton, 37, so far in 2022.
"What is striking is that he squeezes everything out until the finish line," he told NOS. "He doesn’t let himself be easily sidelined, both on the track as well as mentally."
Lammers thinks it may simply be the case that Russell is now the faster driver in silver.
"It could be that," he said, "but if that’s the case then Hamilton could use a little bit of Russell’s mental power.
"The moment you give up, defeat is a fact. And I don’t see Hamilton getting his teeth into it yet."
Hamilton’s high profile issue over the Miami GP weekend, however, was the FIA’s clampdown on the wearing of jewellery in the cockpit.
"I thought it was a bit of a weird reaction," said Lammers. "I’ve also been stopped by police for speeding and have said ’shouldn’t you be catching criminals?’ But of course it doesn’t work that way.
"Hamilton is taking it too personally. It’s not about him or whether he’s been doing something for 16 years. It’s a safety issue and he has to be open to change."
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was also asked about the Russell-Hamilton dynamic in 2022 and concludes that F1 may have witnessed "the changing of the guard".
"George Russell rides the wave, Lewis Hamilton tries not to drown," he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.
"After many years of winning without competition, it’s hard to wake up and realise that it’s not so easy. He now has to drive like he did in his first two years in Formula 1, which is what Russell is doing now.
"But Lewis is a racer and a champion and we’ll see if he still has the energy to it," said the Canadian.
"I think losing the title last year was a heavy burden that he is still carrying, but you can see from the way Max is driving that he didn’t steal the title at all."