Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has not been ‘humiliated’ by George Russell despite the seven-time champion falling behind his team-mate this season, according to Damon Hill. The 1996 champion claimed Hamilton has been a ‘little unlucky’ which has contributed to his seventh position on the drivers’ standings.
He even claimed Hamilton was trying ‘experimental setups’ on his car in a bid to find a solution. This has inevitably made the Briton ‘look worse off’ than he really is against Mercedes rookie Russell.
Hamilton has been unable to extract the best from the car with two disappointing finishes in the Saudi Arabian and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix. The multiple champion could only manage 10th in Jeddah before a 13th place-finish at Imola last time out.
Meanwhile, Russell has now scored four successive top-five finishes including a maiden Mercedes podium in Australia.
It has left the former Williams man fourth in the standings with almost double Hamilton’s points tally. Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said: “I think Lewis has been a little unlucky, has been delving around and has been happy to play the guy who tries the experimental set-up for Mercedes a bit because he has got more experience with them.
“So, perhaps he has gone the wrong way sometimes and that has made him look worse off than he is against George. But George is definitely doing a sterling job and I think that is a very firm foundation for him going forward.
“He has not humiliated Lewis in any way I don’t think, I don’t see it like that.” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff spoke to Hamilton moments after the race in Imola to apologise for the car’s poor performance.
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The Austrian even described the car as ‘undriveable’ which was odd considering Russell was lying P4. However, Hill is not the first to suggest Hamilton’s lack of pace may not be entirely down to talent.
Former Le Mans star Tom Kristensen has also suggested the team have a varying test programme with Hamilton taking on more responsibility due to his experience.
He said: “I think they split the test programme. In that sense, Lewis is taking on bigger changes on the car trying to find a direction. They clearly have no direction, they haven’t found that. They haven’t found the direction with the car to develop it. If you have the bouncing, porpoising thing, that’s a car running incredibly stiff.”
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