George Russell told Lewis Hamilton ‘didn’t want him at Mercedes’ after British GP victory

Lewis Hamilton “didn’t really want” George Russell as his Mercedes team-mate when he signed back in 2022, according to F1 insider Peter Windsor.

F1 British Grand Prix 2024

Russell stepped into the shoes of Valtteri Bottas, who Hamilton had previously praised as his ‘best team-mate,’ after Bottas switched to Alfa Romeo. Despite the buzz it created among British racing enthusiasts at the time, Hamilton reportedly wasn’t thrilled about the change.

Russell edged out Hamilton in their first season together before Hamilton turned the tables in 2023. The seven-time world champion has often found himself trailing behind Russell this season but has closed the gap to just a single point following his triumphant return to the top of the podium at Silverstone, his first win since 2021, as reported by the Express.

Former F1 team boss Windsor believes that Hamilton’s victory at the British Grand Prix will be particularly poignant given the turbulent last few years, including Russell joining the team. On his YouTube channel, while reflecting on Hamilton’s British Grand Prix victory, Windsor said: “I think this race will be remembered because it was two and half years since Abu Dhabi 2021.

“Since everything that happened on that day when that eighth world championship was snatched from Lewis effectively on the last lap due to a mistake made by the race director, and it’s about everything that’s happened in Lewis’s life since then,” Windsor said. “A team-mate that he didn’t really want, George Russell, instead of Valtteri Bottas, and then perhaps even more significantly, a very uncompetitive Mercedes.” he added.

F1 British Grand Prix 2024
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix at the weekend 
(Image: Getty))
Hamilton returned victorious at Silverstone, stepping atop the F1 podium for the first time since his last triumph over two years ago. After containing a spirited challenge by Max Verstappen, Hamilton ended his 945-day absence from the winners circle at the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Russell may have begun the race on pole position, and Lando Norris momentarily led in front of his home crowd, but it was the Stevenage-born legend who held firm against relentless pressure to claim victory. Following Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and Russell’s rising stature, whispers of tension between the two Mercedes team-mates started circulating, especially following Hamilton’s odd remark about being unlikely to out-qualify Russell for the remainder of the season, implying a potential favouritism towards his younger counterpart.

Russell, however, stood firm, insisting they receive equal treatment within the team. Speaking after his emphatic win, Hamilton said: “Since 2021, every day I’m getting up and fighting to train to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team. This is my last race here at the British Grand Prix with this team.”

Russell suffered an unfortunate end to his British Grand Prix 

Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Hamilton expressed his heartfelt gratitude after a triumphant race, saying: “I wanted to win this so much for them because I love them and appreciate them so much. All the hard work they put in over these years. I’m forever grateful to everyone at Mercedes and all our partners,” he said, before adding “And to all our incredible fans. I could see you lap by lap. There’s no greater feeling to finish at the front here.”

Reflecting on his journey, he continued: “There have definitely been days between 2021 and here where I didn’t feel like I was good enough or I was going to get back to where I am today. But the important thing is I had great people around me, continuing to support me. My team, every time I turned up and saw them putting in the effort that really encouraged me to do the same thing.”

Hamilton also acknowledged his supporters: “Otherwise, my fans, when I see them around the world, they have been so supportive. So a big, big thank you to everybody.” Hamilton will leave Mercedes after an 11-year run and join Ferrari next year.

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