Mercedes F1 team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff believes the balance of power between George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will change during the season as luck ‘must turn in Hamilton’s favor’ after a series of ‘unfortunate circumstances’ for the seven-time world champion.
Hamilton and Russell were fairly even in qualifying in the first seven weekends of the season and the younger Russell is currently leading 4-3, but in the races Russell is much more successful and has a 6-1 ratio.
Hamilton finished the first race of the season in Bahrain ahead of Russell, but in the next six races Russell was more successful and did not finish any race below fifth place which is currently enough for him to hold fourth place in the drivers’ standings, one point ahead of Sainz in a much faster Ferrari.
In races in Australia and Miami, Russell was lucky with the moment a safety car came out that allowed him to finish ahead of Hamilton, and without those two situations Russell would still be more successful in races albeit with a much smaller 4-3 lead.
“I mean when you look at the bad moments Lewis had, just look at today’s race [in Monaco], he got stuck again, he had contact with Esteban, he got stuck behind Fernando,” Wolff said.
“The red flag in qualifying [Russell drove his second lap earlier], and you know what happened in the races before that. I think the pendulum will turn so that these unfortunate situations with Lewis will stop. “
“He could have been there somewhere and got closer to Land [who finished behind Russell in sixth place] or even fought George and Lando because that was his speed.”
“They’re more or less at the same speed, in one workout one is faster, in another it’s faster and it’s great how they work together to tune the car because that’s what we need.”
Mercedes had the best race of the season in terms of speed in Spain, where with a series of improvements they finally solved the problem of bouncing on flat sections, but the track configuration and very high temperatures also went their way.
In Monaco, it was the other way around – most of the turns are slow, the surface of the asphalt is smooth and it is not easy to heat the tires, which does not suit their car this year.
“I think we are the third team. We are not second and we are not fourth, ”said Wolff.
“We have two extremely strong drivers, but we are very annoyed that the gap behind the leaders has remained the same. If you look optimistic, it is about five tenths. If you are pessimistic, then it is more about eight tenths. “
“And that’s something that’s not acceptable to us at Mercedes.”
Hamilton collected only 59.52% of Russell’s points in the first seven races (50/84), and Russell is the only driver to win points in all races.