George Russell slammed after making Lewis Hamilton request to Mercedes bosses

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

George Russell has taken serious flak from F1 fans after requesting to pass his Mercedes team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, at the Monaco Grand Prix. Russell had just made a mistake that saw him choke a potential podium in the Principality, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon clinching third spot instead.

Late rainfall in Monaco made the closing stages of Sunday’s race more treacherous than many expected. Russell was one of several to suffer the effects as he ran off-track at Mirabeu, tumbling down the field and being struck by Sergio Perez when returning to the circuit.

Adding insult to injury was the five-second time penalty handed to Russell for an unsafe rejoin. The Brit dropped to fifth place, and with Charles Leclerc lurking just over five seconds behind him, he piped up on the team radio to propose switching places with Lewis Hamilton and promising not to go more than five seconds ahead.

Such a plan coming together would have seen Hamilton finish in P4 and Russell in P5 – as they were at the time of the request – but Russell felt that it would be an effective way of protecting his lead over Leclerc.

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The former Williams star was flatly denied by Mercedes bosses, with his pace proving strong enough to hold off the challenge of Leclerc regardless. It may never be known whether Hamilton would have yielded if asked to, given that he retained a faint hope of passing Ocon for third place.

Although Russell claims to have had the team’s best interests at heart, many on social media saw the radio request as a cheeky way to protect his race at Hamilton’s expense after a mistake of his own doing.

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“Not two weekends in a row,” wrote @Master_Wolf_FR on Twitter. “You shouldn’t have crashed in the first place, George.” meanwhile, @_ttruth_b_told added: “Any time he is behind Hamilton he is on the radio begging.”

Furthermore, @Riszes scathingly added: “He literally has no shame.” The intra-team battle between Hamilton and Russell has been closer than many expected since beginning their partnership in 2022.

The newcomer pipped the seven-time world champion in last season’s Drivers’ Championship and clinched Mercedes’ only win of the season in Brazil. Hamilton has reclaimed his position as top dog so far in 2023, however, with a 19-point lead over Russell after six Grands Prix.

Hamilton went a whole season without winning a race in 2022 – the first time he has done so in his F1 career. Mercedes fans hope that a newly-introduced upgrades package can change the 38-year-old’s fortunes on that front, and he will get another chance to end the drought in Barcelona this weekend.

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