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Hamilton F1 rival reveals key factor in fierce on-track battles

Hamilton F1 rival reveals key factor in fierce on-track battles

Hamilton F1 rival reveals key factor in fierce on-track battles

Hamilton F1 rival reveals key factor in fierce on-track battles

George Russell has emphasised the existence of 'trust' between himself and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton when engaged in on-track battles.

The duo have faced questions about the effectiveness of the Silver Arrows' driver line-up due to several close encounters during the 2023 season. Despite their high-speed performances aiding Mercedes in securing second place in the constructors' championship, near-misses on the track raised concerns about potential point losses.

Close incidents during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix and intense battles at Suzuka heightened tensions, with Russell expressing frustration over team radio.

However, the Mercedes camp managed to maintain internal cohesion despite these on-track challenges. The situation took a turn in Qatar, where Hamilton's attempt to pass Russell for P2 resulted in a misjudged move, ultimately ending Hamilton's race prematurely.

George Russell has played down his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had a number of close calls in 2023

Russell: Close calls are normal

“I think it’s normal when you’re so close in performance, [and] when you’re lapping at the same lap times or you’re starting next to one another on the grid - you’re always going to be close," Russell told Autosport.

“We always go through our strategies [in] meetings. The pace difference between the two of us is zero. We’re always going to be going across a 24-race season, an average of 60 laps per race, we cross paths a lot and he’s the driver I cross paths with the most. So, I think that’s probably what we put it down to. I think also we trust one another.

“There may be tense [moments], it may be hard, but we trust one another. We know that we’ll give each other enough space to fight necessarily and not go beyond the limit.

"Obviously, Qatar was just a bit of a lap one small misjudgement. That’s another opportunity where it was another podium or even a potential victory missed.”

READ MORE: Hamilton and Russell 'trying to understand' WORRYING Mercedes trend

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