Why former F1 champion backs Hamilton over Russell
Former F1 World Champion Damon Hill has backed Lewis Hamilton to
edge George Russell in the battle between the two Mercedes drivers in 2023.
Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s teammate at
Mercedes last year, and surprised many by finishing ahead of the seven-time
World Champion in the points standings.
Russell also took Mercedes’ only win of an uncharacteristically poor
2022 season, emerging victorious at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
However, Hill cited Hamilton’s greater experience and his upbeat
pre-season comments as a key factor in helping the elder Briton get the better
of his younger teammate.
“George is as mild-mannered and respectful as they come, but
when the prize is so big, when it is that thing you have been working towards
your entire life, elbows inevitably get sharper,” Hill told The Daily
“If I was forced to back one of them, I’d probably plump for
Lewis on the basis of his greater experience and the fact he appears to have
his mojo back, especially if he sniffs a victory. He looks and sounds in great
“Certainly I think George would have to do something more than
he did last year to get the better of his teammate again. But it’s doubtful we
have seen ‘peak George’ just yet.”
Mercedes tensions to rise in 2023?
Hill added that the
hitherto friendly relations between Hamilton and Russell would be severely tested
if the two find themselves competing against each other in a front-running car.
“If Mercedes do get their act together, the attention on Lewis
and George is going to go into overdrive,” said Hill, who won his only F1 World Championship title in 1996 after a season-long battle with Williams teammate Jacques Villeneuve.
“Last season they neatly avoided any run-ins by virtue of being
in the trenches together. But if they have a winning car, that is when things