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Mercedes

Russell disputes Hamilton 'veered off' claim

Hamilton had suggested the duo had 'veered off' from each other set-up-wise at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Russell Bahrain paddock
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George Russell has disputed Lewis Hamilton's claims the Mercedes duo "veered off" from each other in terms of strategy at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Britons finished fifth and seventh at the Bahrain International Circuit as the team struggled with cooling issues throughout the 57-lap event.

But Russell had qualified third on the grid with Hamilton only ninth - the seven-time F1 champion suggesting he had sacrificed his single-lap pace for a more race-focused approach and that the pair had diverged on set-up.

When Hamilton's comments were put to him, Russell told media including RacingNews365: "Many people have said this but I don't really know the big difference to be honest - the cars were pretty similar.

"I don't really focus too much on his set-up, mine was actually more set-up for the race than the set-up he ran, at least it was on Friday.

"But the conditions changed and it was super sensitive for everybody. We just need to go through everything but our race was dictated by the cooling problems."

'Much better car'

Despite a disappointing result in the season opener, Mercedes has taken a step forward from its starting point in the last two seasons and that has given Russell reason to be optimistic.

"We have definitely got a much better car this year where I do believe we can build from," explained Russell.

"Red Bull has always been strong here, so has Ferrari, I would say this has been a bit of a bogey track for us in the last couple of years.

"So I do think it's too early to say but no doubt, Max is the favourite, I don't think anybody's going to be fighting him for the championship this year.

"I hope some people are going to be battling for victories here or there."

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