Lewis Hamilton ‘keeps getting punched in nose by George Russell’ as Mercedes issues mount

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton is getting ‘punched in the nose’ by Mercedes teammate George Russell as his 2022 season continues to frustrate. Russell has defied expectations so far in his debut year as a full-time Silver Arrows driver and is getting the most out of a troublesome W13 car.

After his podium finish in Bahrain on the opening weekend, Hamilton has finished behind Russell in the following four races and has suffered further safety car stress after the controversial end to last season. The latest came in Miami on Sunday, where confusion over safety car strategy helped Russell thwart the seven-time world champion again.

Hamilton’s discontent is intensifying by the week in a season where Mercedes have been left behind by Red Bull and Ferrari due to porpoising issues. And Tim Coronel has accused the Brit of ‘making excuses’ while Russell keeps delivering blows in his debut year with the team.

He told Motorsport.com: “As a driver in a warm nest, you express yourself well and then you can be creative and keep going. Hamilton and Mercedes are definitely not in that at the moment. I don’t think it’s champions [behaviour] either.

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“I see Hamilton making a lot of excuses, but it’s also very difficult because he keeps getting punched in the nose by his teammate Russell. Then you go to the wrong momentum, and you see that happening with Hamilton now. He’s looking for excuses.”

Russell has achieved consistent top-five finishes this season, as expected in the third-fastest car on the grid, and has been widely hailed for his consistency. Coronel has praised the 24-year-old for the start he’s made and believes his years of driving a ‘chicken coop’ at Williams has helped him adapt to Mercedes’ below-par car.

“He comes from the same line as Norris, Max and Leclerc, let’s face it,” Coronel added. “It is a group that have known each other from an early age and who have always fought each other. It’s about: how do you develop during that year?

“Russell has had to drive a chicken coop from a car for the past few years [at Williams]; let’s get that straight. He had to learn to adapt to the car and get the most out of it. And he does.” Hamilton will be vying to better Russell when the F1 calendar lands in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix later this month.

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