Having come out second-best to Hamilton at the season-opener in Bahrain, Russell bounced back to hold the upper hand at Mercedes at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Can Red Bull win every race this season?

The younger Briton held the edge all weekend in Jeddah - barring final practice - and finished four places and 0.366s ahead in qualifying, before coming out on top of a mid-race battle to beat Hamilton to P4 in Sunday’s race. 

Hamilton was unable to pass Russell despite being on faster medium tyres after a Safety Car restart and ended up dropping more than five seconds behind his teammate by the chequered flag. 

Following his qualifying struggles, Hamilton admitted he “doesn’t feel connected” with this year’s Mercedes, while he suggested his deficit in the race was the result of a “50-50” set-up choice that went against him. 

Russell unexpectedly outperformed Hamilton in his maiden season at Mercedes last year and now sits just two points behind in the championship standings

Can Russell beat Hamilton again? 

Nico Rosberg, the only other teammate to have beaten Hamilton over the course of a season since 2011, believes Russell is “the ultimate test” for the seven-time world champion. 

“That was a ‘I got beaten by my teammate’ face,” Rosberg said of Hamilton after Sunday’s race. 

“George is the ultimate test, he is a future world champion. It is a difficult one for Lewis, to stay in front.

“We saw it last year, the awesome season that George did. George is continuing that form once again so it’s a big challenge.

“Let’s not forget Lewis is the best of all time. If there’s anyone who can beat George, it will be Lewis.” 

Rosberg, who pipped Hamilton to the 2016 world title, added: “A little weakness that Lewis has, is that sometimes he will mentally go into this ‘down’. He will lose the flow. 

“But he comes back with a bang every time. So George, don’t get too confident!”

1996 world champion and fellow Sky Sports pundit Damon Hill has tipped Hamilton to be “formidable again” once Mercedes fix their flawed W14 car. 

"This is what Lewis does,” Hill noted. “He gets down but he fights back. That’s what I see in him. 

“You can never count him out. He will go away and rebuild himself. As he gets the car that he wants, he will be formidable again."

Will tensions rise at Mercedes? 

Hamilton and Russell enjoyed a harmonious relationship throughout 2022 as Mercedes were forced to shift their focus from winning races and championships onto a recovery effort in what turned out to be a miserable campaign with their troubled W13. 

Russell beat Hamilton to Mercedes’ sole pole position and victory last year as Hamilton was subjected to his worst ever position in the drivers’ standings after finishing sixth, 35 points adrift of Russell. 

Both drivers downplayed the importance of the gap and Russell even told Crash.net he had no fear about their relationship breaking down as Mercedes’ competitiveness improves. 

But will things change if Russell regularly outperforms Hamilton? 

Beating Hamilton for the second successive year would go some way in helping Russell stamp his mark at Mercedes and potentially establish himself as the team’s leader. 

As much as he may deny it publicly, Hamilton - the most decorated F1 driver of all time - will be bothered about finishing behind his teammate. After all, as far as racing motifs go, ‘beat your teammate’ is right up there. 

Have early glimpses of an intra-team war - similar to that of Hamilton v Rosberg or Hamilton v Alonso - already been witnessed? 

Russell seemed reluctant to move aside for Hamilton when his teammate initially had more pace on medium tyres. 

When a radio message from Russell to his engineer was broadcast on the world feed, it led to speculation he’d rejected a team order. But there was no such instruction from Mercedes, and Russell later clarified the “confusion”

Nevertheless, he put down a marker by taking matters into his own hands and immediately pulling clear of Hamilton in a manner his predecessor Valtteri Bottas could only dream of.

Clearly frustrated by his defeat, Hamilton appeared to have a little dig at Russell after the race as he lamented his set-up direction. 

"We work on that,” he said. “There was like a 50-50 choice. I chose one way and he chose another.

"More often than not, the way he went is the wrong one. But it just happened to work. So I could only match his pace than be quicker this weekend. But I'll work hard to make sure we are in a better place next time.”

Even if Mercedes are out of title and race-winning contention this year, it will be fascinating to see how the Hamilton-Russell dynamic evolves.