Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has discussed the possibility of changing the dynamic between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell if his team joins the fight for wins and titles.
Despite the worse opening of the 2022 season, the Silver Arrows took a step forward in performance. George Russell’s pole position in Hungary and Lewis Hamilton’s five consecutive podiums show that progress.
Ferrari and Red Bull are still the fastest teams on the grid, but Mercedes closed the gap, especially in the race. Winning the title is out of reach for Mercedes after their poor start, but they are within reach of Red Bull and Ferrari next year.
While nothing is guaranteed, it would obviously be a surprise if Mercedes found three-tenths off their immediate rivals over the winter.
Barring Russell’s pole position in Hungary, Mercedes were generally weaker in qualifying, so this will be an area to address going forward. That said, the priority will always be to continue to improve in the race.
The implementation of the new floor rules at the Belgian Grand Prix will not – in the worst case for Mercedes – have any effect on the standings. However, these changes could create problems for Red Bull and Ferrari, and further boost Mercedes’ progress.
That being said, there is always the possibility that Hamilton and Russell’s partnership will come under more pressure.
Aware of the possibility of tension between his drivers, the Mercedes boss knows that something like this could happen, especially when the goals become winning races and winning titles.
“When the goals become races and championships, I’ll be able to tell you if the respect I see between the two of them today will remain the overriding factor.”
“When you play the biggest stakes, I think it’s natural to have a bit of tension, but if people fundamentally respect and value each other, then it will never go beyond what is allowed,” Toto Wolff said in an interview with Motorsport when asked asked if there will be tensions between Hamilton and Russell.