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Toto Wolff

Wolff defends Hamilton with Russell on brink of breaking teammate record

George Russell can do what no teammate of Lewis Hamilton's has ever done before, should he finish ahead of the seven-time World Champion at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton pitlane Baku
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To news overview © XPB

George Russell can become the first teammate to outperform Lewis Hamilton in eight consecutive races should he finish ahead of him during the Canadian Grand Prix.

The young Briton crossed the line third – with Hamilton fourth – at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix to draw level with a record set by Nico Rosberg back in 2016.

That record saw Rosberg finish ahead of Hamilton in seven races, from the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix to the 2016 Russian Grand Prix.

But after finishing behind Hamilton on his first outing as a full-time Mercedes driver in Bahrain, Russell has reached the chequered flag ahead of the seven-time World Champion at every race since, and can potentially make it a record eight on the bounce in Montreal.

How Mr Saturday became Mr Consistent

The former Williams driver, once named 'Mr Saturday' for his impressive qualifying performances, has earned the new nickname 'Mr Consistent' after having become the only driver to finish every race so far this season inside the top five.

Those results have been helped by reliability problems faced by Red Bull and Ferrari, all while Mercedes remain the only team on the grid yet to suffer a DNF.

Praising Russell's performances during the 2022 campaign, Wolff has told the media, including RacingNews365.com: "He's very solid in bringing top positions in and he's been on the podium a few times, and Lewis has been [too].

"When your car is not super competitive with the front guys, maximising those points is important.

"It's important to consolidate and make sure that you are no worse than third. But equally, you see the situation with Ferrari, if they dropped the ball off then we are there."

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Rosberg celebrates a race win with Mercedes in 2016

Wolff says Hamilton has been trialling experiments

Hamilton, meanwhile, has delivered a mixed set of results and even found himself finishing outside of the points in Imola.

However, the 37-year-old has regularly been trialling experimental updates on his car, the team say, including in Azerbaijan where he was seen to be bouncing more severely than Russell.

Wolff has said that Hamilton has been putting himself forward to trial those upgrades, knowing full well that they could result in him finishing behind his teammate.

"He's absolutely in the driving seat there," assured Wolff. "The decisions have been taken between him and his engineering team.

"Sometimes this goes wrong, he had a car that was more than a handful [in Baku] but this experimental direction is very good. It's good for us to progress as a team."

Mercedes are looking at all possible W13 solutions

For both Hamilton and Russell, the aim is to return Mercedes to the front as the team look to get on top of their early-season woes.

But the longer their issues persist, the more Wolff is asked whether the time is fast approaching in which they must turn their attentions to 2023.

"I think we are looking at all possible solutions," he admitted.

"Under the leadership of Mike Elliott, he's a really strong technical director, there are no holy cows and everything is being looked at.

"We will, for sure, bring the car back on track. If things cannot be solved in the short-term then it will be sorted out over the next few months."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: How worried should Ferrari be by their mechanical woes?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth are joined by Julien Simon-Chautemps as they question how concerned Ferrari should be after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

F1 2022 Canadian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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