Russell and Hamilton went head-to-head on track at the Japanese Grand Prix on several occasions.

There were a number of flashpoints, with Mercedes ultimately intervening and instructing Russell to let his more experienced teammate through as they were under threat from Carlos Sainz behind.

Speaking on the Sky F1 podcast, Davidson explained why the team’s “hierarchy” is impacting how Russell handles certain situations. 

“There's definitely a hierarchy in that team,” Davidson said. “And rightly so. You know, Lewis has earned that status in that team as a seven-time world champion, and George can't argue against that.

“George is still the understudy, and he's doing a very good job on those occasions where he's got the speed over Lewis to really take the fight to him. But he's doing it in such a George Russell polite way, which is quite humorous to watch, because I know inside the car, he'll be fuming and steaming.

“And that's why we see the near misses, the drivers coming, almost to blows, almost to contact, but then he's a good boy on the radio, he's very British about it. And there are layers to him, to the annoyance, I think. It always comes over as, 'I'm okay with this, but if you could please, very thankfully, let me through with the next couple of opportunities, it'd be much appreciated.”

“And we'd hear maybe a bit more vocal if things were different. But I think for now, I think he knows where he is in the team.”

Since joining Mercedes in 2022, Russell has fared well relative to Hamilton, outsourcing him in the championship standings last year.

Davidson is “intrigued” to see how the battle will develop in the years to come.

“He (Russell) knows he's got the speed. We all see it as well from the outside,” Davidson added.

“Lewis is getting his elbows out when he needs to. I'm really intrigued by this battle and watching George develop as a driver and watching Lewis in his latter years in his career.”