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Amidst Lewis Hamilton Signing New Deal, Mercedes Instructed to Terminate George Russell’s Contract

It’s (almost) official. Lewis Hamilton is staying at Mercedes post-2023! According to reports, it’s not just a measly one-year extension. Hamilton has pointed to a five-year deal set to keep him in the sport until the end of 2028, much like his 2021 rival Max Verstappen. Unlike Verstappen, though, the seven-time champion hasn’t been able to annihilate his teammate for the past couple of seasons. George Russell has proven to be a bigger problem for Hamilton than most of his other teammates. This might put Russell’s future at Mercedes in jeopardy.

 

 

The young Brit joined Mercedes full-time in 2022 and beat his veteran teammate, one of Formula 1’s all-time greats, in his first season. Even though Hamilton has the edge over Russell this season, the young Brit is hindering Hamilton at Mercedes. How so? F1 journalist Peter Windsor explained just how that’s the case.

 

 

Mercedes went against Hamilton’s wishes and signed George Russell

After the 2016 season and before the 2022 season, Lewis Hamilton was having the time of his life at Mercedes because Valtteri Bottas wasn’t really challenging him. When Russell joined the team, he brought a challenge, with a fire raging inside to outperform Hamilton. That move, according to Windsor, proved that Mercedes isn’t maximizing Hamilton’s talent like Red Bull does Verstappen’s.

 

 

In an interview on the Cameron F1 YouTube channel, Windsor said, “The problem is George, of course – it’s not anything more or less than that. And you’ve got to remember Lewis wanted to keep Valtteri (Bottas), so something big happened there in Lewis’ mind. They didn’t listen to him, and they signed George.” Peter also stated how Bottas was the right teammate for Hamilton, given he complimented him well. The journalist further called out Mercedes’s error in signing up Russell unlike its rivals, “Red Bull would never in a million years have thought of signing George Russell, even if he was available, and put him alongside Verstappen. But Mercedes did.”

 

 

Windsor revealed how he would do things differently at Mercedes now, involving Russell’s contract terms. He said, “If I was now drafted in as team principal at Mercedes, I would say, ‘George, here’s the contract. It’s in two pieces now, mate. If you want to keep driving, no problem, sign on the dotted line here, and you will never finish in front of Lewis Hamilton. Sorry.’”

Considering what Windsor said, he believes Hamilton still has a lot to offer, and Mercedes’ plan to shift their focus to Russell isn’t the right move. But a Mercedes mastermind would beg to differ.

George Russell is championship-material
Even when Hamilton’s contract negotiations were up in the air, Mercedes’ engineering director Andrew Shovlin believed that putting his faith in Russell is the right thing to do. The average age in F1 is getting younger and younger every year, and Shovlin feels it’s time the Brackley squad starts acknowledging Russell for the talented driver he is. In a recent interview, he said, “George is an extremely professional driver who is working very, very hard. And he’s one of those who will undoubtedly win a championship sooner or later, as long as we can get him a suitable car.”

 

 

Although Mercedes has failed to deliver a competitive car to Russell in the past couple of seasons, the young Brit gave the team its only win in two years at the 2022 Brazilian GP. While discussing Mercedes’ efforts to return to the front with Russell, Shovlin added, “We are obviously working hard to achieve this, but George is a very technical rider who adapts well to the different conditions. He is super focused on his work, and there is no doubt that he will be part of our successes in the future.”

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