Mercedes want Lewis Hamilton-George Russell tension: ‘We don’t want puppy dogs’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton slides off after colliding with George Russell.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collide in Qatar.

Mercedes don’t want “puppy dogs”, they want “lions”, and that’s what they have in Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with Bradley Lord saying tension is to be expected.

After a couple of near-misses earlier this season, and an increase in tension at the previous race in Japan as they went wheel-to-wheel, Hamilton and Russell collided at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix.

Lining up second and third on the grid, Russell tried to draw alongside pole-sitter Max Verstappen with the fast-starting Hamilton on the soft tyres attempting to pass them both around the outside.

Lap 1 was ‘worst scenario’ possible for Mercedes

But misjudging the moment and turning in on Russell, the two collided with Hamilton losing a tyre on his way into the gravel and out of the race.

Russell had to pit for a new front wing as well as tyres as he’d suffered a puncture, that dropping him well down the order.

It was, as Lord put it, the “worst scenario” imaginable for Mercedes.

“It’s clear that lap one, two cars coming together and one in the gravel, one in the pits, is pretty much the worst scenario that a racing team can see,” the Mercedes communications chief conceded.

“Number one is you never want to see the cars making contact. So Lewis went in around the outside of Turn 1, George didn’t really have anywhere to go, and they made contact.

“I don’t think it’s really for me to stand here and apportion blame or talk about it in the debrief.

“But I think what we can say is that champions don’t just stand up in the easy moments and the successful ones, also when it’s difficult, and it’s a real testament to Lewis’ character that he’s come out and said what he has done and apologise to the team as well.”

Mercedes want ‘lions and that’s what we’ve got’

Hamilton not onlyapologised to Russell and the team on social media,七届世界冠军也接近嗨s team-mate later to say sorry with Mercedes capturing that moment on camera.

But while both driversinsist there are no hard feelings, it does seem as if the rivalry – and tension – between the two is growing.

“It’s not my job to smooth everything out,” Lord said, “there should be a little bit of tension there because they are competitors and we don’t want puppy dogs in the car, we want lions and that’s what we’ve got.

“So of course there’s tension and the real challenge is how do you build a healthy and a trusting relationship? And how do you work together as a team in order to achieve the team’s objectives? And they’re both really able to do that.

“I think Lewis again, has paid tribute to the quality of his relationship with George after the race and they’ll talk about this, put it behind them, and then we’ll come back even stronger in Austin as a team.” recommends

F1 race wins: Which drivers have the highest win totals in F1 history?

F1 2023 driver salaries revealed: How much do Formula 1 drivers make?

Mercedes rue missed opportunity

Russell recovered from his early pitstop for a new front wing to finish in fourth place, the Briton putting in a four-stop strategy to McLaren’s three-stopper.

Although he was 30s down on Lando Norris in the fight for the final podium finish, with a pitstop taking 26s, Mercedes were left to ponder what could’ve been were it not for the opening lap drama.

“There’s a difference in tension and being at each other’s throats. But they are racing hard.” Lord added.

说明罗素的复苏给奔驰“laughing eye and a happy eye”, it also left them to rue what “might have been had both cars stayed on the track.

“P2, P3, and a double podium would have would have been just reward I think for the job the team has done this weekend.”

Mercedes remain second in theConstructors’ Championship, 28 points ahead of Ferrari.

Read next:Lewis Hamilton favoured in Max Verstappen debate due to ‘tougher’ career path