Russell warned ‘you can’t just be the nice guy’ by teammate who toppled Hamilton

Nico Rosberg says George Russell can’t afford to “just be the nice guy” in his rivalry with Mercedes F1 teammate Lewis Hamilton.
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Hamilton and Russell dramatically came to blows at Turn 1 on the first lap of the Qatar Grand Prix last time out, an incident which left Hamilton stuck in the gravel and Russell at the back of the field. 

The Mercedes duo had come close to contact on multiple occasions at the previous race in Japan prior to their brutal intra-team collision in Qatar. 

Rosberg, who pipped Hamilton to the 2016 title at the end of a fierce rivalry littered by several on-track flashpoints, believes Russell needs to keep the pressure on the seven-time world champion. 

“Things have been heating up there, because also in Suzuka it was like well over the limit on one occasion when they both took each other off the track,” Rosberg said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast. 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 crashes out at the start of the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 crashes out at the start of the…

“So it’s interesting to follow. I hope that Toto is managing that carefully, because you’ve got to be ahead of the curve there and not let that spiral. 

“It’s a very difficult situation for George as well, because, unfortunately, you can’t just be the nice guy in that situation. You have to also internally keep the pressure on. 

“You have to make it difficult for the team. Unfortunately it sucks but otherwise the team is just going to take the easiest route. 

“So it’s very uncomfortable because George needs to be pushing, which he does on the radio, you hear him saying ‘again’ and things like that. He’s really trying to hold against it.” 

Rosberg thinks Hamilton’s admission that he was at fault for their Qatar clash was a “big win” for Russell. 

“It was a good one now in Qatar for George because Lewis actually admitted, so that was a big win for George in that sense, also internally,” he added. 

“Which is very rare, because in my time, Lewis never had 100 percent at fault, so he never actually had to admit in that way. It is very, very rare for Lewis to be 100 percent at fault like that. It usually never happens. 

“To be watched! It’s an interesting battle and dynamic that's opening up there.”

(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 and team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 battle for
(L to R): George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 and team mate Lewis…

Toto Wolff skipped his second race in a row as he continued rehabilitation from knee surgery and Rosberg said the Mercedes boss’ absence in Qatar was “not ideal”. 

“Toto is the only person there that can manage that,” Rosberg explained. “He’s the only person that has the authority and respect to handle that.

“He’s the right guy, also, to handle it. No one else can force them to sit down and have a discussion and hit the table. 

"I think it will be very good for Toto to be back at the race track. 

“What Toto can do is when they are back in Monaco on the Monday after Qatar, maybe he would have sat down with both, or go visit Lewis in his apartment and have a sit down with George. 

“Individually first, and then ideally you’d also sit them down together.” 

Read More