LEWIS HAMILTON has struggled to match his Mercedes team-mate this season.
Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has defied expectations for the wrong reasons as Damon Hill suggests he would not have predicted George Russell to beat the seven-time champion. Hamilton has secured just six podiums this season compared to Russell’s seven top-three finishes.
Former Williams star Russell has also finished in the top-five at every race this season when he has reached the chequered flag. His consistency has left him 35 points ahead of Hamilton in the championship with just six races remaining.
Hill made the comments on the F1 Nation Podcast when he was asked if anyone would have predicted Russell to have more podiums than Hamilton. Hill replied: “No one. I wouldn’t have done. It’s incredible.
“If you come into F1 and you get a big crack at it and you come into a big team like that, he has definitely held his head way above water. Pretty solid.” Hamilton has only been beaten by teammates in the championship twice in his entire F1 career with both coming against world champions.
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Lewis Hamilton has only scored six podiums this season (Image: Getty)
He lost out to Jenson Button when the pair were at McLaren in 2011 and to Nico Rosberg when he lost the crown in 2016. Meanwhile, Russell could become only the second driver in F1 history to finish runner-up in the championship having never won a race.
Russell now lies just 16 points from Leclerc with Mercedes already admitting to targeting P2 in the championship. Earlier this season, former champion Jacques Villeneuve admitted Russell would have his career made by beating Hamilton this season.
He commented: “He knew from the start it wasn’t a championship-winning car, if he beats Lewis, his career is made. That’s all that he cares about. And also, both of them being British, he beats Lewis that’s it as his career has been made.
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Lewis Hamilton is 35 points behind Russell in the standings (Image: Getty)
“So that was his only emphasis: what he needed to do to beat Lewis and that’s what he’s been doing.” Russell has pulled away from Hamilton after a dismal run for the multiple champion since the summer break.
Hamilton crashed out of the Belgian Grand Prix and then dropped behind Russell at Zandvoort and Monza. However, before the summer break, Hamilton had beaten Russell in five successive races suggesting the intra-team battle was not yet decided.
Juan Pablo Montoya even suggested Hamilton was starting to get an advantage over the youngster. He told Vegas Insider: “I think the way it is going at the moment, I think Lewis is starting to get to his head a little bit.
“And Lewis is running a little bit stronger than anybody expected. And I think that makes it tough.”