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Niki Lauda’s son, Mathias Lauda, believes Lewis Hamilton is having a “difficult time” dealing with Mercedes’ lack of pace this season with George Russell stealing the limelight so far. Having won eight Constructors’ Championships in a row, Mercedes came into this season as the team to beat.
But new aerodynamic regulations have caught Mercedes out with their W13 failing to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari. Hamilton has already finished 10th or lower twice in the opening five races with the F1 icon struggling to adapt to the team’s lower position on the grid.
Russell though has been consistent each weekend with the young Brit sitting 23 points ahead of his team-mate. He’s had some fortune on his side with the Safety Car at the Miami Grand Prix coming at just the right moment for Russell to pit for new tyres and eventually overtake Hamilton.
The 37-year-old has already ruled himself out of competing for this year’s championship, despite Toto Wolff’s hope that the team will find the solution to their problems soon. Russell has appeared more optimistic than Hamilton in recent weeks on Mercedes improving.
JUST IN: Lewis Hamilton ‘100 per cent bothered’ by George Russell outshining
And Mathias Lauda, who currently races in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin, believes Hamilton is already showing signs of being “grumpy” at finishing regularly behind his team-mate.
“He’s really having a difficult time driving around in the midfield,” he told Servus TV. “It’s still early days, but Lewis has only had problems so far. For George Russell, on the other hand, everything is new for him in a factory team.
“Lewis lost the title on the last lap of the last race in 2021 and the motivation I guess is different now. And Russell seems fully motivated and is doing a good job.”
There was a glimmer of hope that Mercedes were moving in the right direction at Miami after Russell set the fastest lap in FP2 on Friday. But it’s clear that there is a fine window for fine-tuning the W13 after little changes were made on Saturday with Russell then unable to replicate his previous performance.
Porpoising was more prevalent once again and Hamilton feels there has been no real progress made since the start of the season.
“We’re the same speed as we were in the first race. So we’ve just got to keep trying,” he said. “We haven’t improved, unfortunately, in these five races.
“I’m hopeful that at some stage we will. But we’ve just got to keep trying, keep working hard.”
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