Yewti- George Russell believes seven-time F1 champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton is finally back up to speed after his early-season struggles at Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton has been off the pace this season due to a new set of regulations which has resulted in his W13 suffering from either aerodynamic porpoising or bouncing due to it being too stiff.

Although there was an early podium in the season-opening race in Bahrain, Lewis Hamilton then remarkably finished behind Russell at the following seven grands prix.

Lewis hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has since shown signs of finding performance and greater stability with his car after clinching a trio of consecutive third-place finishes at the last three races in Canada, Silverstone and Austria.

At the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton also appeared set to challenge for pole position in the Friday qualifying until a crash in the final session.

Assessing what he has seen from Hamilton most recently, and speaking prior to the race in Austria, Russell said: “As drivers, you want to finish ahead of everybody and that includes your team-mate.

“I knew the challenge I faced ahead of the season, going up against Lewis and I’ve seen first-hand just how great he is.

“In any sport, you often get into a bit of a groove, a bit of a rhythm and things seemingly go for you or against you and I obviously had quite a good run.

“Those first nine races – maybe eight races – I’d say were pretty good. The last two races [before Austria] were a bit trickier for me.

“But we’ve seen in those last couple of races just how fast Lewis is.”
Russell not getting carried away with Mercedes speed

At Silverstone, Mercedes was again able to mix it with the top two teams this year in Red Bull and Ferrari, with Hamilton shaping up to challenge for a victory before a late safety car handed the advantage back to his rivals.

Although Mercedes has made promising steps, a cautious Russell warned: “I don’t think we want to get too carried away because Silverstone is a very unique circuit in the sense of the speeds you’re going through those corners.

“We clearly have a lot of downforce and good potential at a circuit like Silverstone.”

In Austria, Russell was involved in a lap-one incident with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for which he received a five-second time penalty and a new front wing.

The Briton emerged 19th after the triple-whammy but recovered to finish in the same position he started in fourth.

Assessing such a circuitous route to the 12 points, Russell said: “Yeah, it was a bit frustrating to have the incident at turn four and obviously, I lost a huge amount of lap time with the damage, probably a second a lap.

“Then to find out I’d got the penalty, then the front wing change, a 20-second long pit stop, I guess it wasn’t bad in the end to finish where we did and to come back through the traffic a minute behind the leader – although they obviously did an extra pit stop.”

LEWIS HAMILTON has sent a message to former F1 rival Sebastian Vettel ahead of the German’s return to F1 next weekend.

Lewis Hamilton has welcomed back Sebastian Vettel to the F1 grid ahead of his return to racing at next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton posted a message to Aston Martin’s lead driver on his Instagram story as he recovers from coronavirus.

Hamilton said: “Covid is no joke, welcome back.” The message also included a prayer emoticon and a picture of Vettel shared by Aston Martin.

Lewis Hamilton

Yesterday, Aston Martin confirmed Vettel will race in Melbourne after missing the first two races of the season with Covid.

A Twitter statement said: “We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside @lance_stroll in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 @F1 season at the @ausgrandprix.”

Ahead of the race in Jeddah, Aston Martin has earmarked Melbourne as the date of Vettel’s return to the team. Vettel took part in the pre-season test in Bahrain but tested positive days before the first race.

Lewis Hamilton

Experienced F1 star Nico Hulkenberg filled in for Vettel at both Grands Prix and was on the pace straight away. Hulkenberg even managed to beat his full-time team-mate Lance Stroll in Jeddah as the team just missed out on points.

After his two guest appearances in F1, Hulkenberg posted how he had an “amazing” time in the car.

He said: “The last 10 days came unexpected – were very eventful, intense but amazing! Good times! Hulkenback 3.0 is a wrap.”

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