Lewis Hamilton told how he remains superior to Russell despite Mercedes decline

Lewis Hamilton previews 2023 Miami Grand Prix

Mario Andretti believes that Lewis Hamilton is not ‘past his peak’ despite recent struggles and feels that the Brit is simply having to adjust to trying to compete whilst not having one of the fastest cars in the race. George Russell has spearheaded Mercedes’ charge this season, recently being allowed to pass Hamilton at the Miami Grand Prix, prompting conversations about the pecking order within the team.

Hamilton’s struggles has prompted widespread speculation about his future and whether he will continue to be second fiddle to his teammate. However, Andretti, who was world champion in 1978, believes that the seven-time world is being overlooked by many.

He told PlanetF1.com: “I don’t think Hamilton is past his peak. But the difference between him and George Russell is that Russell has never driven a car that is as competitive as the Mercedes.

“And Lewis Hamilton has never driven a car that’s as uncompetitive as Mercedes is at the moment. Lewis has always had the blessing of being with an extremely competitive car. Look at the McLaren times, when McLaren was at its peak – there he was. Now he has to fight a little bit harder to achieve what was easier to achieve.

“So he’s having a tough time just really getting that last bit out of it, whereas George has never really experienced a car just as strong that’s still able to run up front. So there’s the difference – you can draw your own conclusions, but I wouldn’t write off Lewis by any means at this stage.”

Speculation has stirred that Hamilton could be tempted to retire from F1 once his contract with Mercedes expires, rather than penning a new deal or jumping ship. However, Andretti has insisted that the 38-year-old must think very carefully about that decision, he continued: “Here’s my fear. I had seen some of my peers overstay, and maybe have not the best memories of their last times in the sport.

“I was really trying to, in my own mind, ask ‘When is it time? I don’t want to!’ but, you know, I wanted to have a positive memory of my last moments, my last seasons in the sport, and to know that I was still competitive and I still had a chance.

“It’s a personal thing, just how you look at it. From Lewis’ standpoint, I’m sure that he would love to have another championship under his belt and then say goodbye. Whether that’s in the cards or not, I don’t know. You can say, ‘Yeah, you should do this, you should do that’. But it’s up to the individual, to see how you’re looking at things and how you feel and all that.”

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