Villeneuve speculates why the picture of the fight between Russell and Hamilton has changed
The 1997 world champion, Jacques Villeneuve, believes he can guess what could be behind the fact that after last year there was a serious change in the dynamics of the fight between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, i.e. why the seven-time champion was able to resist “amazingly”.
One of the main talking points of the 2022 season was the internal conflict between the young talent coming to Mercedes, George Russell, and the team’s seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton, which Russell eventually won in points. In addition, the team’s only race win of the season was recorded in Brazil, that is, at the end of the season, when Hamilton was closing in on him more and more.
In their second season together, the dynamics of their fight have changed a lot: so far in 2023, Hamilton looks even more convincing. The more routine competitor has claimed several podium places, won a time trial and is currently 57 points ahead of his young brand partner.
Jacques Villeneuve, who recently spoke to PlanetF1 about this conflict and said change, also weighed in and suggested he can guess what’s behind it. “Russell is having a tough season now compared to last year. In 2022, he’s had a much better year for some reason.” – World Champion started the 1997 season.
“I don’t know if it has changed or if Lewis is driving better, but this year the balance has changed. Last year for George was exemplary… Do you remember how educated (Daniel) Ricciardo was when he arrived at Red Bull?” – He referred to 2014, when the Australian was placed alongside champion Sebastian Vettel.
“Georges went from Williams to Mercedes, where Lewis was already there. So let’s compare him to Ricciardo and Lewis to Vettel. Lewis wanted to win races and George wanted to beat him. So they used different approaches. Lewis is not interested in third or fourth, so maybe he tried to compensate at certain points In the settings to restore half a second. In this case, you often prefer to go slowerHe emphasized that.
“That’s what happened with Vettel that year, against Ricciardo. The rookie racer in these cases just minds his own business and is happy to be his teammate (the champion) and then suddenly he looks great, but in the second year it doesn’t go that way.”“The Canadian continued.
As for the sequel, Villeneuve says Hamilton would be more excited if Mercedes produced a winning car again. “If Lewis gets to a situation like Max (Verstappen) now, that is, he gets a car that he can do anything with, then he is unbeatable.” Like Max now, it can happen, and it will happen. “I’m not worried about that.” – Tell.