Lewis Hamilton took a subtle dig at his teammate George Russell after the 2023 F1 Japanese GP on Sunday (September 24). While speaking about Russell switching positions with Hamilton in the drivers' championship, the seven-time world champion pointed out that the two are actually miles apart in the drivers' championship.
During the race in Suzuka, Russell prevented Hamilton from overtaking despite Mercedes' orders. In the meantime, the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz kept charging towards the 38-year-old from behind. After a few corners, Russell eventually gave Hamilton the pass and managed to keep Sainz behind him.
After the race, Lewis Hamilton initially stated that his main goal was to stay ahead of the Ferraris and score as many points as possible for the team rather than for himself. His wanted to prevent Ferrari from gaining too many constructors' championship points and becoming a threat to Mercedes.
Hamilton told the press:
"Well, I mean, for sure we will talk about offline, it's the best way to do it. Our ultimate goal is to try and get ahead of the Ferraris and that's what my goal was today. And it's to beat the Ferraris in the constructors' championship, that's all that matters."
Hamilton then seemed to suggest that George Russell's attempt to battle for position was pointless because the former is far ahead of the latter in the drivers' championship.
"We are not fighting for drivers' positions in the championship. Because, firstly we are not close, and secondly we are not fighting for the [drivers' championship's top spot]. So, now it's about just getting the maximum points for the team, and I think that's what we did there."
At the 2023 F1 Japanese GP, Lewis Hamilton finished fifth while George Russell finished seventh. Overall, Hamilton is third in the drivers' championship with 190 points while Russell is eighth with 115 points.
Former F1 CEO picks Max Verstappen over Lewis Hamilton as the best driver of all time
Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone recently stated that Max Verstappen is the best F1 driver of all time. As per the Daily Mail, Ecclestone previously used to reserve that praise for former F1 driver Alain Prost, but now he feels Verstappen is higher on the list.
The Red Bull star, according to Ecclestone, is even better than seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has dominated the sport for a long time. Ecclestone was quoted as saying by the aforementioned publication:
"Max is the best driver ever. No doubts. I used to say Alain Prost. Now I would say Max. He’s the greatest. He is the brightest with regards to getting the best out of the car. He doesn’t muck around. He gets right on the programme. In my list he is above Lewis Hamilton."
Even though Max Verstappen is the best in Bernie Ecclestone's eyes, it is safe to say that he would have to win quite a lot more to equal Hamilton's records.