Mercedes ‘trying to understand’ big issue with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

George Russell has admitted that Mercedes are ‘trying to understand’ why the Briton and Lewis Hamilton were never on the same pace during the 2023 Formula 1 season.

In order for Russell to surpass Hamilton the following season, the 25-year-old is also keen to discover the cause for himself. The Mercedes teammates’ frequent separation during the races confused him. Nevertheless, at 11 rounds, the two outqualified each other to close out the campaign.

The only team in 2023 where neither driver prevailed in a head-to-head match during qualifying was Mercedes. Among the drivers competing for the entire season, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon of Alpine were the next closest pair over a single lap. Gasly prevailed 14–8 in their all-French match.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton had Formula 1’s closest qualifying head-to-head record in 2023

This year, Hamilton and Russell had nearly identical average qualifying positions—6.36 and 6.50, respectively. In 18 of the 22 races, both drivers qualified for round three; Hamilton had four Q2 exits and Russell had one Q1 exit. Hamilton also ran a single pole position.

Russell finished down in just P18 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which produced Hamilton and Mercedes’ only pole position of the season. During one of the race weekends when Formula One used the “Alternative Tyre Allocation,” the resident of King’s Lynn felt constrained by traffic near the Hungaroring.

Russell’s best qualifying finishes came in second in the Grands Prix of Australia, Singapore, and Qatar. Additionally, he only tied Hamilton in the final race’s head-to-head competition. For the final Grand Prix of the season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, Hamilton would only qualify as P11.

Mercedes are trying to understand their driver’s pace disparity over the 2023 season

Mercedes ended 2023 with the smallest average qualifying gap between two teammates, which was further aided by Hamilton’s season-ending struggles. Russell and the 38-year-old had a 0.020-second difference at the end of the year. At 0.075, the Alpine pair Gasly and Ocon was the next closest combination.

Russell and Hamilton split 0.020 seconds apart, giving Russell a slight advantage. However, Mercedes and its drivers are curious as to why Russell and Hamilton would then be separated by such a large margin in the races. Hamilton outscored 175 with 234 points to win the Grand Prix head-to-head 15–7.

According to quotes from the Express, Russell acknowledged, “It’s definitely something we’ve noticed.” “I don’t think Lewis and I have ever moved at the same speed throughout the year.

We have essentially had the same qualifying record for the past few years. Either driver is six tenths of a second ahead of the other, though. We are thus attempting to comprehend it. I believe that when a driver is running a little behind, they are usually trying to catch up.

Sometimes, instead of truly closing that gap, doing so causes you to take a step backward. It’s something I’m attempting to understand on my own, and I’m sure he is too.

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