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Why former F1 champion backs Hamilton over Russell

Despite finishing behind George Russell in last year's championship, Lewis Hamilton is more likely to get the better of his teammate in 2023, according to Damon Hill.

Former F1 World Champion Damon Hill has backed Lewis Hamilton toedge George Russell in the battle between the two Mercedes drivers in 2023. Russell replaced Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton's teammate atMercedes last year, and surprised many by finishing ahead of the seven-timeWorld Champion in the points standings. Russell also took Mercedes' only win of an uncharacteristically poor2022 season, emerging victorious at the Brazilian Grand Prix. However, Hill cited Hamilton's greater experience and his upbeatpre-season comments as a key factor in helping the elder Briton get the betterof his younger teammate. "George is as mild-mannered and respectful as they come, butwhen the prize is so big, when it is that thing you have been working towardsyour entire life, elbows inevitably get sharper," Hill told The DailyTelegraph. "If I was forced to back one of them, I'd probably plump forLewis on the basis of his greater experience and the fact he appears to havehis mojo back, especially if he sniffs a victory. He looks and sounds in greatshape. "Certainly I think George would have to do something more thanhe did last year to get the better of his teammate again. But it's doubtful wehave seen 'peak George' just yet."

Mercedes tensions to rise in 2023?

Hill added that thehitherto friendly relations between Hamilton and Russell would be severely testedif the two find themselves competing against each other in a front-running car. "If Mercedes do get their act together, the attention on Lewisand George is going to go into overdrive," said Hill, who won his only F1 World Championship title in 1996 after a season-long battle with Williams teammate Jacques Villeneuve. "Last season they neatly avoided any run-ins by virtue of beingin the trenches together. But if they have a winning car, that is when thingsget serious."

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