Ex-Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson asserts that George Russell must respect the elevated status Lewis Hamilton has earned within Mercedes’ hierarchy.
Russell was promoted to the senior Mercedes side last year and impressed amid a tough campaign for the German marque to comfortably outscore Hamilton. The ex-Williams driver also achieved Mercedes’ sole pole position and race victory of the season in Hungary and Brazil respectively.
However, Hamilton has regained the upper hand on his less experienced partner this year, currently sitting four places and 75 points ahead in the Drivers’ standings.
The most recent race in Japan saw tensions increase between the pair after Hamilton rebuffed Russell’s attempt at an overtake by pushing him wide at the Spoon Curve corner.
Davidson, currently a Mercedes simulator driver, believes that Russell should continue to accept that he is playing second fiddle to his seven-time World Champion team-mate.
“There’s definitely a hierarchy in that team,” Davidson told the Sky Sports F1 podcast.“And rightly so. You know, Lewis has earned that status in that team as a seven-time world champion, and George can’t argue against that.
“George is still the understudy, and he’s doing a very good job on those occasions where he’s got the speed over Lewis to really take the fight to him.
“But he’s doing it in such a George Russell polite way, which is quite humorous to watch, because I know inside the car, he’ll be fuming and steaming.
“And that’s why we see the near misses, the drivers coming, almost to blows, almost to contact, but then he’s a good boy on the radio, he’s very British about it.
“And there are layers to him, to the annoyance, I think. It always comes over as: ‘I’m okay with this, but if you could please, very thankfully, let me through with the next couple of opportunities, it’d be much appreciated.’
“And we’d hear maybe a bit more vocal if things were different. But I think for now, I think he knows where he is in the team.”
Mercedes confirmed last month that both Hamilton and Russell had extended terms to remain with the team until the end of 2025.
Davidson contends that he is “really intrigued” to watch the dynamic between two drivers from dividing generations continue to unfold at Mercedes over the coming years.
“He [Russell] knows he’s got the speed. We all see it as well from the outside. Lewis is getting his elbows out when he needs to,” Davidson added.
“I’m really intrigued by this battle and watching George develop as a driver and watching Lewis in his latter years in his career.
“Watching this young, hard-charging driver in George, really threatening him for speed and consistency, and it’s great to watch Lewis getting stuck in as well.”