Mercedes reserve driver gives inside view on why George Russell is beating Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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Lewis Hamilton is being beaten by George Russell because he has a different approach to race weekends, according to Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne. The Belgian driver claims Hamilton is “very dynamic with trying new things” which means he hasn’t been able to gel with the car.

Meanwhile, Russell is “more mathematical” and is setting his car up exactly to how his engineers want. Speaking on Formula 1’s post-race show on YouTube, he said: “George has obviously been performing very well since the start of the year.

“He’s been working really hard with the team, frankly he’s doing the job and getting the results in. That doesn’t mean Lewis is not doing a proper job, he’s still probably the most successful Formula 1 driver on this grid.

“He’s not gone bad overnight. He still knows how to drive a racing car but I think he doesn’t quite gel with the car yet. He’s very dynamic with trying new things with the car because Lewis is used to winning races. He’s not used to P4 P5 P6 and being in that position.

“He wants to flip this car around and he wants to understand where the performance is and while George is a bit more mathematical. He’s listening a bit more to the engineers and trying to put the car in the optimal window in which the car is good enough for P5 on normal days, Lewis is just trying different things and it’s not quite working out at the moment.”

Vandoorne’s comments could explain why Russell has been able to outperform Hamilton at almost every race this season, The former Williams man has beaten Hamilton five times in qualifying this season with Hamilton only edging him three times.

However, on race day Russell has beaten Hamilton at every race except for the season-opener in Bahrain.

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Russell scored his third podium of the season in yesterday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix to extend his lead over Hamilton to 37 points. The 24-year-old lies just 51 points behind championship leader Max Vertapepn compared to Hamilton’s 88-point deficit.

Russell addressed his advantage over Hamilton after the race yesterday, claiming the seven-time champion would soon be back to his best.

He told Sky Sports F1: “Things are obviously different but I know how capable and great Lewis is and once we get the car, I’m sure he’s going to be a whole different beast. We’re so fixated on trying to solve these issues.

“But we’re not fixated on trying to maximise a race weekend and focusing on our driving because there’s so many issues to think about. I’m sure once we’ve got a good car underneath us the true Lewis Hamilton will be out there and fighting strong.”

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