George Russell has shot down claims that only Lewis Hamilton ran the experimental setups for Mercedes earlier in the season. Earlier in the season, Hamilton went through a run of poor performances in Imola, Monaco, and other races where the former champion was not a match for Russell.
Upon being questioned about the deficit, it was implied that Lewis Hamilton was running more experimental setups to help understand the car. That was why he had such a deficit compared to George Russell earlier in the season.
According to Russell, although both drivers were given the same upgrades and development parts, Hamilton wasn't truly comfortable with them and hence had to resort to some extravagant setups to make things work. When asked about the aforementioned claims, he said:
“No, that's not the case. Whenever there were test items brought to the track, it was shared evenly across us both. I think what he probably means is that he was a bit more extravagant with setup items. Whenever there was a development that came to the car, it would always be split evenly. One week it would be me, one week it would be him."
"I was naturally happier with the car from day one, so I think Lewis was trying more things to try and find the setup that worked for him. I didn't need to experiment too much because I was in quite a happy place. The pace was relatively strong and obviously, you can only compare yourself to your team-mate, and at the start the performance was good. So Lewis had to try these extravagant things to see what worked best for him. Probably halfway through the season he was then in a pretty happy place with the car, but whenever it comes to development items, we share that evenly."
George Russell's claim makes his debut season against Lewis Hamilton very impressive
If the claim from the young Mercedes driver is true, this makes his 2022 F1 season very impressive. George Russell finished the season with his team's only win and pole position and outscored his legendary teammate. At the end of the season, there were suggestions that Russell's success in the first half of the season was down to Lewis Hamilton working on experimental setups to help develop the Mercedes W13.
If that is not the case, it makes Russell's first season with the team exemplary, to say the least.