George Russell was stuck behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton during the São Paulo Grand Prix last Sunday and was not happy about it. The younger of the two Britons asked his team whether collaboration was not a better option. However, the winner from a year ago did not receive a clear answer from his team and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff explains why.
That one year is not the same as the next became painfully clear to Mercedes last weekend. While the German racing team managed to book a double victory in 2022, Mercedes only played a supporting role last Sunday. With eighth place, Hamilton managed to score four valuable points in the battle for second place in the constructors’ championship, but Russell, who took his first and only victory in Brazil last year, did not reach the finish line.
Both Mercedes drivers actually had a hard time from the start. Russell followed in the footsteps of teammate Hamilton, while the seven-time world champion had to give up more and more ground on the leaders. Russell hoped to work with his stablemate and promised his team that he would not attack Hamilton. However, the 25-year-old from Kings Lynn was unable to hear the call and was heard again over the on-board radio. “Do we work together or do we each run our own race?” Russell wanted to know.
Why Russell didn’t get an answer
However, a clear answer was again lacking and soon Russell’s question was no longer relevant. The single GP winner could no longer follow Hamilton and saw the competition pass him by left and right. Wolff explains why Mercedes did not provide a concrete answer. “It was only a side issue for us,” the Austrian is quoted by Formel1.de. ‘I think the race and the news on the radio were completely irrelevant to us. There was nothing to manage, nothing to say,” Wolff said.
Wolff does not find it a problem at all that the radio traffic between Russell and his team was broadcast. “Whether it is controversial or not, if there is no performance, what difference does it make?” says the 51-year-old Austrian after Mercedes’ disappointing performance in Brazil. “So I have no problem with whether something is broadcast or not,” concludes the Mercedes team boss.