Russell and Hamilton came close to colliding on a number of occasions in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The first flashpoint came at Spoon Curve as Hamilton ran Russell off the track.

Towards the end of the race, Mercedes used team orders to get Hamilton ahead of Russell, with the pair becoming increasingly under threat from Carlos Sainz behind.

Windsor - who is a former Williams and Ferrari team manager - believes their Suzuka duel highlights “acrimony” between the pair.

 “You could tell that there is definitely acrimony between the two now – and that’s not a good thing.

“Imagine if Mercedes had a Championship-winning car and this was the World Championship and grand prix wins they were racing for, imagine what it would be like between Lewis and George,” he said on his YouTube channel. 

“The good thing is it’s only for the minor placings, it’s all you can say. ‘Does it really matter that much?’ I suppose is what you’d say in the boardroom afterwards.

“But if they do get in a position actually to be doing something serious in 2024 – a big ask, you’ve got to say – then how are you going to manage that Lewis Hamilton/George Russell imbalance?”

Russell replaced Bottas at the end of 2021 after three impressive years at Williams.

While Bottas struggled to mount a consistent challenge to Hamilton, he served as a solid number two driver, assisting the team to five constructors’ championship triumphs. 

Windsor reiterated his view that what happened at Suzuka is another example of why Hamilton wanted to remain alongside the Finn.

“Lewis always wanted to keep Valtteri, not necessarily because he loved Valtteri but because it was the right balance of the team,” he added. “He could feel that. That was the same as Max Verstappen [and] Sergio Perez.

“It came to the surface more than ever before, I think, in the Japanese Grand Prix.”