Lewis Hamilton at odds with George Russell as Mercedes issue damning statement

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will already be looking ahead to the 2024 season as the dust continues to settle on Max Verstappen’s third Drivers’ Championship triumph. The Dutchman was utterly dominant this year and will be expecting Red Bull to give him another title-winning car at the next time of asking as he chases down a fourth straight title.

Mercedes, however, will be doing everything in their power to close the gap after a difficult few years in which they have struggled to lay a glove on Red Bull. The Silver Arrows have claimed just one Grand Prix victory in the last two seasons, with Russell’s triumph in Brazil in 2022 marking their best result in recent memory.

Preparations are well underway in the hope of gaining the upper hand for 2024, with McLaren also looking to challenge Red Bull at the top of the pecking order next season. The Woking squad have come on leaps and bounds over the last few months and will have high hopes of pulling off a surprise title charge when the new campaign gets underway.

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Mercedes hit back at FIA

Mercedes have issued a scathing response to the FIA after the governing body placed Toto Wolff and his wife Susie under investigation for an alleged conflict of interest.

It was reported on Tuesday that some rival figures have complained to the FIA over the family conflict they believe exists between Wolff as a team principal and Susie as an employee of Formula One Group.

Mercedes later hit back with a damning statement of their own, in which they insisted the allegations made against Wolff and his wife were ‘unsubstantiated’.

They said: “We note the generic statement from the FIA this evening, which responds to unsubstantiated allegations from a single media outlet, and the off-record briefing which has linked it to the team principal of Mercedes-AMG F1.

“The team has received no communication from the FIA Compliance Department on this topic and it was highly surprising to learn of the investigation through a media statement.

“We wholly reject the allegation in the statement and associated media coverage, which wrongly impinges on the integrity and compliance of our team principal.

Hamilton at odds with Russell

Lewis Hamilton’s view on the potential introduction of reverse grid sprints is at odds with that of George Russell, who does not seem to be a fan of the idea.

The latter explained: “My own personal view is I don’t think reverse grid races will work, purely because I learned this when I raced in Formula Three and Formula Two.

“If you’ve got the 10 fastest cars, the most challenging car to overtake is the one who you’re fighting with. If you reverse that grid, you’re going to have the quickest car in 10th trying to overtake the second-quickest car in ninth, which is trying to overtake the third-quickest car which is in eighth.

“So, each car is actually trying to overtake their most direct competitor. What you’ll probably actually find is it would just be a DRS train.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, said: “The best sprint race I ever had was when I started last [in Brazil 2021] and so I’m in favour of the reverse order, except if we had that then everyone will just try and qualify last!”

Good morning

Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s rolling coverage of the latest F1 news as the dust continues to settle on the 2023 season.

We’ll be bringing you the biggest stories throughout the day, so grab a coffee and stay tuned…

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