Mercedes started the year on the back foot relative to Ferrari and Red Bull, with porpoising - the bouncing phenomenon - plaguing their season. 

On paper, Hamilton struggled for performance in the first half of the year relative to new teammate George Russell.

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Hamilton was understood to be running more extreme setups in a bid to improve the W13, while Russell didn’t, explaining the former Williams driver’s impressive form.

This was further backed up by Hamilton’s form in the second part of the year, often out-performing Russell in both qualifying and the race.

In an interview with, Russell explained why he didn’t follow Hamilton’s route of running experimental setups because he was in a “happier place” with the car.

However, in a recent video on the team’s YouTube channel, Mercedes strategist chief James Vowles explained Hamilton and Russell’s differing roles in the first part of the year.

“I think on a whole it doesn’t really take us to tell you this but George did a very good job this year,” he said. “He is against the best in the world and that's your reference and what is very clear is that at the beginning of the year when we had a car that was difficult Lewis was using his wealth of experience to help us in order to improve the car and really move us forward as a part of the team.

“George in that period of time was just really focussed on learning, embedding himself into the team and he scored a number of results really that benefited him as a result of that. Irrespective his qualifying pace I think is within a tenth of where Lewis ended up, his race pace was very, very strong throughout the year.

“That's really what we were looking for, how does he fit into our environment? How does he fit into the team? How does he work with Lewis? How does he work with everyone else? And I think in all of those he did an incredibly good job. It was a big step up for him from Williams, I think where Williams operated is obviously very high level, where we operate is a little bit different to that. I think he adapted very quickly and very well.” 

Russell claimed Mercedes’ only win of the year, beating Hamilton to the win in Sao Paulo.

He ended the season 35 points clear of the seven-time champion in the final F1 standings.