Russell, 23, joined the Silver Arrows earlier this year after spending three seasons with bottom-bottomed Williams team and has consistently impressed with consistent performances and strong results that have seen him finish in the top five in all seven opening rounds of the season . No other driver can match this record.
Mercedes have been the fastest team in F1 every season since 2014 but have not been able to contend for race wins so far this season as they fell behind leaders Red Bull and Ferrari after F1 made its biggest rule change in a generation over the course of the winter break had experienced .
Both Hamilton and Russell are struggling with the W13 car, which has improved in recent races but suffered from severe porpoise early in the season, causing it to bounce violently on straights.
Russell again finished ahead of Hamilton in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, finishing fifth, while Hamilton was only eighth behind the defensively stubborn Fernando Alonso.
The 24-year-old is now two places in the drivers’ standings and 34 points clear of the seven-time world champion, but Wolff insists Hamilton was unlucky last week and has done so many times this season so far.
“I think if you look at the bad spells Lewis had [in] the race – stuck again, contact with Esteban [Ocon]got stuck behind Fernando [Alonso]the red flag in qualifying and you know what happened before in the races,” explained the Austrian.
“I think the pendulum will swing to stop those unfortunate situations for Lewis – they’re very similarly fast. [In] One leads in practice, then the other and it’s great how they work together because we have to get the car right now.’
Mercedes brought a series of car upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix ten days ago that have seemingly reduced porpoise problems significantly but have not brought them close enough to the front of the park to challenge wins. Wolff now believes that Mercedes is the third fastest team in the field.
“The problem is that we can say: ‘Well, that’s a track where things are going a bit better’ – like Barcelona, or at a track where things are going a little worse, like here in Monaco”, he said. “I think we’re the third team. We’re not second, and we’re not fourth.
“We have two extremely strong drivers, but it’s very annoying for all of us that the gap is about the same. If you look at it optimistically, it’s five tenths. If you look at it pessimistically, it’s closer to eight tenths. This is unacceptable for all of us at Mercedes.”
The next round of the 2022 F1 season will take place over the weekend of June 10-12 in Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/31/lewis-hamilton-defended-by-mercedes-boss-toto-wolff-despite-growing-f1-gap-to-george-russell-16745165/ Lewis Hamilton defended by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff despite growing F1 gap with George Russell