Since the rugged Singapore Grand Prix ended fairly well for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton while being a disaster for teammate George Russell, the latter is on the lookout for an opportunity to secure a podium that slipped out of his hands. That race at the Marina Bay track opened up a window for other teams who believe that Red Bull is out of their dominant phase which was made clear by Lando Norris in his speech post the race.
During the race on Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix, tensions flared within the Mercedes team as furious George Russell and Hamilton engaged in an intense on-track battle with one another. This incident agitated the 25-year-old driver and he vented to his team over the radio, “Are we going to fight each other or the others?” Russell was clearly not pleased by Hamilton’s actions which displayed a clear example of the lack of team spirit in the latter.
The two Mercedes are still squabbling
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In the thrilling Suzuka race, the young Briton defied his team’s orders and managed to hold off Lewis Hamilton’s attempts to overtake him. The 38-year-old Hamilton was fiercely pursued by Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz as this high-stakes race took place. After negotiating a number of turns, Russell finally gave way to Hamilton, allowing him to charge ahead and cleverly fought off Sainz’s unrelenting chase.
Lewis Hamilton candidly acknowledges the weaknesses of W14
As Red Bull driver Max Verstappen drove his team to win this year’s Constructors Championship with another unparalleled win, the Mercedes drivers, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton found themselves in the more humble positions at seventh and fifth respectively. For the following 2024 season, Mercedes’ car requires major improvement in several key areas, according to Hamilton, who was acutely aware of their difficulties at the Japanese Grand Prix.
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Frustrated by the car, Lewis Hamilton said, “In qualifying, I was giving it everything but that seven-tenths deficit we have in sector one, it’s all rear end [downforce]. Our car has loads of load on the front and not as much as we need on the rear. So we’re a really long way down on that and for me, it’s 100 percent clear that’s concept – and we have got to make sure we change that for next year, which hopefully we will.”
Despite Mercedes’ impressive history in Suzuka, which has seen them win six races, they qualified on the fourth row this weekend and were a full second slower than Max Verstappen’s scorching speed. Mercedes performed well in Singapore but struggled in Japan. Ferrari, who had won the Grand Prix in the previous week, also struggled to maintain their competitive form.