Wolff urged to help ‘weaker child’ out of Hamilton and Russell in F1 2023 

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has been urged to support whichever of his drivers is having “more difficulties” during the 2023 season. 
Race winner George Russell (GBR)
Race winner George Russell (GBR)

The Silver Arrows are hoping to return to title contention this season after enduring a miserable 2022 where Mercedes’ W13 challenger started badly off the pace and was plagued by severe porpoising following an overhaul to F1’s aerodynamic regulations.  

Lewis Hamilton suffered his worst F1 season as he failed to win a race for the first time in his career, while he was also beaten by new teammate George Russell, who claimed Mercedes’ only victory of a troubled campaign on his way to fourth place in the drivers’ standings

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Former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro has offered Wolff some advice on the eve of the 2023 season. 

“At Red Bull, the distribution of roles between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez is clear. Max is the stronger driver,” Pirro said. 

“But when you have two equal drivers, like Hamilton and Russell at Mercedes or Leclerc and Sainz at Ferrari, the team boss then has to support the driver who has more difficulties. Like parents helping a weaker child. 

“After that, in the difficult moments, the driver who can bring the extra flash of inspiration will prevail. That makes the difference between the teammates.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 at the end of year drivers' photograph.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG…

Hamilton and Russell are set to embark on their second season as teammates and have so far enjoyed a strong working relationship. 

While Russell acknowledged the dynamic will be different were he and Hamilton to find themselves fighting for wins and the world championship, the Briton insists there is “no reason” for conflict to emerge between the pair. 

“If you are fighting for one-twos there will be a slightly different dynamic and that’s only natural,” Russell said in response to a question from Crash.net during an interview at the end of 2022. 

“But I think the thing we have going for us is the fact that we are at very different stages of our career. It kind of feels like we are in this together, really. 

"If we get to next year and we’ve got a car that’s capable of one-two finishes, we will have a huge amount of pride in thinking we have contributed together in helping the team achieve this. And then we go about our business. 

“But we’ve got no reason to have conflict. We have got a good relationship. We need to give each other respect, and I think we gave each other respect in Mexico, as an example. 

“We recognise the importance of that within the whole team. If our relationship starts to break up, it’s going to have an impact on the team and ultimately it’s going to go full circle and affect us as well. 

“I think we can continue to build off this and if anything our relationship will probably get closer as time goes on.” 

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