Swapping places with Hamilton was ‘frustrating’

(Motorsport-Total.com) – For the fourth time in race five, George Russell outperformed Lewis Hamilton in an internal team comparison at Mercedes. After the Miami Grand Prix in 2022, however, Russell himself says: “It was lucky.” Coming from P12, Russell benefited from a long first stint on hard tires and a late safety car phase. That puts him ahead of Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the 2022 Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix


“When something like this happens, you look like a genius, but that’s how it is when you use different tactics,” says Russell. During the race, he had spoken out in favor of not changing the tires too early in case incidents still occurred. And this calculation paid off.

“There was no reason to pit. Then you can stay outside and hope something happens,” said the Mercedes driver. Russell made his pit stop on lap 40, then found himself behind Hamilton, whom he quickly passed on fresh tyres, then passed twice, twice.

Why he returned the job to Hamilton

Because the first time Russell slipped off the track because it was “so dirty” in Miami, as he puts it. “And then we also talk about a corner where you don’t really know where the track ends because there is only a white line. But it shows when you drive [aus dem Cockpit heraus] do not. Kind of a weird curve.”

The race organizers intervened quickly: Russell had to give up the position he had won off the track against Hamilton. This “FIA story” was “a bit frustrating”, says Russell. At that point, he had finally launched an attack on the people in front and closed the gap slightly.

“So I had to do it again,” Russell says. And the second maneuver was finally in place, Hamilton was beaten. But the fight went with uneven weapons, Russell points out: “Lewis was unlucky [mit der Strategie]. If you race on hard 20-lap tires, there’s not much you can do.” Russell’s medium tires offered better grip.

Hamilton: No chance to counter

Hamilton himself sees it this way: “George had fresh tyres, so I was kind of an easy victim.” But Russell sold well overall in the Mercedes W13, Hamilton continues. His teammate drove “a lot” and behaved “fairly” in the duel with him.

If so, it bothers him to the max that he didn’t rely on the hard from the start, says Hamilton: “George had the best starting tyres. And looking back, the hard was the best tyre. . Maybe we could have started flat too.”

“But again George caught up to his starting point well and scored points. And fifth and sixth in the race, those are good points for the team.”

“Mixed feelings” at Russell after P5 in Miami

But Russell has “mixed feelings” about the outcome. Reason: “From Saturday, Sunday is of course a good result, but if you had told me on Friday that we would finish in P5 and P6, then I would have been quite disappointed.”

Because Friday, during the second free practice session, Russell had achieved the best time of the day. After changing his set-up on Saturday morning, however, he was unable to regain this speed. Not even after Mercedes returned to Friday status. “We haven’t figured out why yet,” Russell says.

Overall, Mercedes also got “promising” information from Miami. “There’s still a long way to go,” says Russell. “Because we have a fast race car, but we don’t have the key to get the performance.”

Hamilton with an early “hit” in the race

Hamilton says his car didn’t give him the same feeling after first contact in the race as when driving on the grid. He speaks of a “pretty hard blow”, but does not know exactly how the scene unfolded.

Photo gallery: Formula 1 2022 Miami: The most important thing about Sunday

The latter also applies to the situation under yellow when the safety car is out. Hamilton is asked if he shouldn’t have changed tires there too. Answer: “I really don’t know.”

“In this scenario, I have no idea who is where, so if the team tells me your decision, then I don’t have all the information I need to make the decision. That’s the job. of the team, to take care of the processing of the details that I don’t have. You count on the guys for that.

“Today, however, the decision was handed to me. I don’t understand that. But at least we scored points.”

After five races, Mercedes still sit third in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship. And Russell’s top-five streak continues after fifth in Miami. In the drivers standings, it now has almost twice as many points as Hamilton and is in P4.

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