Wolff: ‘Russell as good as Hamilton’

Mercedes AMG F1 have had the worst start to a season in the best part of a decade. Their W13 car is at best the third quickest on the grid following the most significant changes since 2014 in the FIA to car design regulations.

The Brackley team’s young pretender has delivered a P4/5/3/4 in the first races of the season, while his world champion team mate Hamilton has just over half the points of newbee Russell after 4 races.

Toto Wolff apologised to Lewis Hamilton at the chequered flag in Imola for giving him an ‘undrivable’ car, whist his new driver simultaneously delivered a P4 race result. The Merc team boss has suffered much criticism for this message, given the result of his other driver. Ex World champions and other pundits have suggested this was merely to keep Lewis’ spirits up.

Yet the reality is clear for all to see. Russell is better equipped to driving a car that is not ideal. Hamilton has driven the Rolls Royce of F1 Mercedes for the best part of a decade and doesn’t know how to deliver in a substandard machine.

Toto Wolff explains to F1.com, “I couldn’t be happier with the driver line-up; in that respect I think we have the two best drivers, maybe two of the three best drivers. They deserve a car and a power unit that fights at the front rather than them being lapped. That’s not what any of them deserves.”

 Well the best of their drivers is clearly Russell at present.

Toto praises Russell in particular; “I’m very impressed with how [George has] settled in, how professionally and analytically he helps to assess the situation. The combination is one of the very few highlights I have at the moment on our journey – how well the two of them work together, with no friction; on the contrary, [they’re] very productive and positive for the team.”

Yet George Russell, P4 in the drivers’ championship, ahead of Carlos Sainz, needs no motivational speeches from his team principal.

By contrast Lewis Hamilton is clearly in need of some Toto love. “Well, you know in a way I have to protect him here. It’s not his low. It’s the low of the car performance,” Wolff continued. “We know that he is a seven-time world champion. He caught up last year, him and us the team caught up and nearly fought for the championship.”

It kind of feels that Toto goes on to be slightly patronising to Lewis or even ‘protested too much’ on his behalf as he states. “The guy is the best driver in the world, and he’s just not having a machine and equipment underneath him to be able to execute… In a way I think it’s irrelevant if you come in eighth or 12th or 15th, it doesn’t matter; it’s all bad. But the real stars recover.”

But George is P3-P5 in the same car Toto???

The Merc team boss heaps even more pressure on Hamilton as he adds; “There are none out there of the really great ones that come into my mind that didn’t have certain moments in their career where things didn’t run properly, and that is the case now with him since a long time.

“He’s going to help the team to sort things out, we are sticking together through good and bad times and today [at Imola] was certainly a very bad day.”

But what if it doesn’t improve at Mercedes AMG F1 for Lewis?

If ever there’s an epitaph being written inadvertently right now, Wolff is contributing to its content.

‘Old master, deposed by young gun’?

17 responses to “Wolff: ‘Russell as good as Hamilton’

  1. A journalist or blogger worth anything would go into detail about how and why Russell has been finishing higher up in the races. How did Russell gain 5 places at the start of the race last week for example, good driving or good fortune when Sainz went off?

  2. I don’t think you can blame Hamilton if he’s having a bit of an off season after what F1 did to him last year.Could you imagine being cheated out of the championship by changing the rules mid race to give Verstappen the advantage,Well we all know what happened and it was wrong as he who shall not be named (Masi) wouldn’t have been sacked otherwise.i couldn’t imagine what Lewis had to deal with over Christmas,and I don’t think it’s wise to write him off either as we all know what he’s capable of.

    • Russell definitely a better driver than Hamilton. He always had a great car. That made him look good. Time he retired

    • You are totally finished. Your’ IP address is the same as Steve. I’m done. You’re contributions are facile and argumentative and its time we said goodby.

  3. Read Steve… I agreed nor disagreed. Just honestly wondered who is the nr three in Toto’ mind. He believes LH and GR are two of the best three so who is the third then? Leclerc? Max? Someonelse?

  4. here someone has difficulty with the fact that a team boss states that he thinks both drivers are equally good.
    Yes the car made LH win 7 wdcs. I’ve never seen someone become F1 WDC on a bicycle.
    And if you have the fastest car, you win 7 times in a row. Unfortunately for LH the NR really beat him in 2016.

    I find your statement that Alonso lost out to LH is quite optimistic as they both had 109 points at the end of the season.

    You also get stuck in the fact that a number of former drivers find LH the GOAT. And I’ve mentioned this before, there are also those who think otherwise. Purely because it is unprecedented for a team to be so dominant in the sport for so long.

    Besides that, I only know the title human error champion at one site. and that’s here. While I follow the sites fairly internationally.

    And if you really only want to look at the stats, then Russell has just been 2x as effective in gaining points. So 2x as good

    • Damn. That’s 30 minutes of my life I’m not gonna get back.

      Oh, and Sir Sterling was not at all biased. No bias whatsoever……..

    • sigh….

      I thought you were open to discussion. But your reaction only makes it even more visible how short-sighted you really are.
      Do you actually realize that every time LH loses hey according to you, it is always the fault of dubious circumstances. LH is always opposed by his team, the race management, the FIA, Bernie E.. and on and on.

      now I find it remarkable that you call some biased and then give a list of names consisting of English and Scottish drivers.
      Vettel certainly has another driver that he GOAT… and if you don’t know who I mean then you really don’t know anything about Vettel.
      Fittipaldy, I never heard Piquet say it. Or are they not experts according to you? I won’t mention Keke R.

      And sorry but I don’t call FB and Twitter newsworthy sources.

  5. Wolff is doing away from the track an extension of the psychiatry, babysitting and ego massage that the seemingly infinitely patient Bono does just about every race weekend on team radio. The question remains whether or not HAM will get to terms with a W13 that has defeated him thus far and that RUS appears to handle just fine.

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