George Russell says that he is “equally struggling” this season, in comparison to his teammate Lewis Hamilton, and makes it clear that he knows what Hamilton “is capable of.”

Seven-time champion Hamilton has endured a poor start to the 2022 season, in terms of results, with a particularly disappointing Imola Sprint weekend where he finished P14 and P13 in the Sprint and Grand Prix respectively.

New teammate Russell meanwhile is the only driver to have finished in the top five at every Sunday race this season so far and appears to be better suited at adapting to the characteristics of the W13. It is a car which is heavily plagued by the infamous porpoising phenomenon that teams only discovered in pre-season testing – failing to spot it in the wind tunnel or simulators due to their constraints.

He thinks Hamilton’s clear struggles have been amplified by bad luck and timing, and believes things just “fell our way” in the first few rounds of the championship. However Russell is confident his finishing record won’t last unless the car performance improves and that Hamilton will be on his level sooner rather than later.

“In terms of results we’re definitely getting the most out of it and things have definitely fell our way in the first four races, and it gives me, and I’m sure it gives the team, confidence that when the car improves we’ll be there to get even more points on the board,” said Russell to written media.

“But as I said before this weekend we can’t sustain this level of these results if we don’t improve the pace of the car.” In the case of the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola, Russell points to tyre temperature management as what made the car a “nightmare to drive”.

“It’s just how things fall sometimes in a race weekend,” said Russell. “I made a very strong start I think but I don’t know what happened to [Lewis] at the start. But we are equally struggling and when the car is so far out of bed and is not in the right window, it doesn’t really feel like a proper racing car to drive, and especially we’re struggling with the tyre warm-up. On Friday it was 13 degrees and it was just a nightmare to drive.

“I expect [Lewis] to come back so strong, and the way he’s pushing and motivating the team is inspiring, and I’m not getting comfortable in this position because I know what he’s capable of.”

Russell also considers the factor of his experience at Williams in cars that were often towards the tail-end of the field being something that helps him to handle the “difficult” W13. “I don’t think he has [struggled], it’s just how things have fell out really and yeah it’s just been difficult,” he continued.

“And it’s just been a really difficult position for us as a team and perhaps with my struggles at Williams driving some very difficult cars maybe that’s helped in some small regard. Q1 and Q2 for us now is massively important whereas now previously for Mercedes that was a breeze, you know it’s almost like a build-up session getting ready for Q3 and, as I said, Lewis is going to come back incredibly strong I have no doubt, and he’s definitely going to be pushing me all the way.”

Russell currently resides in P4 in the driver’s standings, on 49 points, with Hamilton in P7 on 28. Mercedes are in P3 in the constructor’s standings, with 77 points, to Red Bull’s 113 and Ferrari’s 124.

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