• Chris Kato

Hamilton vs Russell - Teammate Tale of the Tape - Mercedes F1

The defending Constructor's champions enter 2022 with a much different look and feel than in recent years...

The 8 time defending Constructor's champions recently kicked off their 2022 campaign with a successful launch in Silverstone. The W13 broke cover for the world to see as the familiar Silver livery returns to the Mercedes team. A new era in Formula 1 also marks a fresh start for Mercedes in terms of their driver lineup as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell made their first official appearance together as Mercedes drivers. After a tumultuous end to 2021, Mercedes have put history in the past and are ready to continue their domination of F1 in this new era. A key aspect to Mercedes retaining their number one status as a team is how their new driver lineup will co-exist with each other. So in today's video, we'll be breaking down the numbers between Hamilton and Russell, how they stack up against each other and what we can expect from this duo in 2022. This is the second installment of our teammate tale of the tape series for 2022, so be sure to check out the rest of our breakdowns on the BackMarkers blog page!

Tale of the Tape - Hamilton vs Russell

Courtesy - Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

After an over-dramatization of Lewis Hamilton's potential retirement over the Abu Dhabi events, the 7 time Driver's World Champion is clearly not done yet and is ready to attack the 2022 challenge. He'll have his hands full however not just with a reset of the rules, but also with a new, young and hungry teammate seeking to be the number one. The resume of Hamilton is long and decorated while Russell is only entering his 4th season of F1 but let's look at the tale of the tape between the two.

A lot of statistical discrepancies stand out between Hamilton and Russell for obvious reasons but one that we'll highlight is the age gap. The age gap of 14 years is the second largest on the 2022 grid, only second to Alonso and Ocon at Alpine. Russell has also competed in 228 fewer Grand Prix starts than Lewis Hamilton as he is going up against one of the all-time greats in F1. With 103 wins, 103 poles, and 187 podiums, Hamilton will look to further extend his crown as most successful driver in F1 history this season. One statistic in which we can draw a close comparison between Hamilton and Russell is their record vs their teammates. In 15 seasons, Hamilton is 13-2 vs his F1 teammates, only losing out to Rosberg in 2016 and Button in 2011. Russell on the other hand is undefeated against his teammates in F1, beating Kubica and Latifi in his three years at Williams. This partnership at Mercedes will be very intriguing to watch as both drivers have shown to be very strong against their teammates in the past. But before we look at their 2022 expectations, let's dive deeper into the numbers for each driver.

#44 - Lewis Hamilton

Courtesy - Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

2022 will mark Hamilton's 16th season of Formula 1. At the age of 37 and a difficult end to 2021, Hamilton still seems fresh and more than ready to take on a new challenge. It's been a staple of Hamilton's career to never give up and always fight back to the top so the rumors of his retirement were always blown out of proportion.

Regardless of the accolades he possesses, Hamilton still has that rookie excitement of seeing a new F1 car and being able to drive it for the first time at the W13 shakedown. The seven time world champion's resume could be a separate video on it's own but his statistics are in a class of their own. His average finishing position is an impressive 3rd place while his average starting position is 4th. He's been able to reach Q3 in 267 out of 288 attempts in his career which spans multiple different eras of F1 machinery. This consistency that has spanned almost a decade has allowed him to score 182 podiums along with 59 fastest laps to his name. Hamilton enters 2022 in a much different position than in recent years but also very similar to how he started the 2017 season; Back then, he was coming off of a Driver's championship defeat but he also had a new teammate for the coming season. What's very different about this time around is the way in which he lost the 2021 Driver's championship. The effects of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are still being felt today but the question is will Hamilton still be effected by it? The answer to that only he will know but all signs point to the fact that he has moved on from Abu Dhabi so let's all do the same. Hamilton will love to challenge Verstappen once again and try and defeat the Dutchman but will he even get the opportunity? We're not sure how strong these teams will be in terms of performance and 2022 might show Hamilton that his biggest threat will be his own teammate.

#63 - George Russell

Courtesy - Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

George Russell to Mercedes was always a question of when and not if. Mercedes finally pulled the trigger for 2022 as they promoted Russell to Mercedes in place of Valtteri Bottas. An advantage that Russell has over other drivers joining a new team is that he's already driven for them on multiple occasions. Not just in tests, but also in an official Grand Prix weekend back at the 2020 Sahkir Grand Prix. This will allow the young Brit to get acclimated quicker to Mercedes' systems and protocols as he will be familiar with how they work and the senior Mercedes personnel. Despite driving one of the slowest cars to start his F1 career, Russell's talents were on full display in his three years stint at Williams. His qualifying in particular is what made him shine, reaching Q2 29 times and Q3 on another 5 occasions. He scored his first career F1 points last season and also capped off many years of tribulation with a podium in Belgium. He's averaged a start of 15th place while his average finish is one spot higher at 14th. 2022 is a perfect time for Russell to transition into the Mercedes team. New rules, and a brand new car, it limits the disadvantages he has to his senior teammate. Russell has been one of the most highly touted drivers since he entered the sport in 2019. This season will be a big test of his talent and potential as he has to go up against one of the greatest ever. Russell's one lap pace is where he will be able to challenge Hamilton straight away as that is his strength. The real test will be how Russell deals with running at the front of the grid and all that comes with battling for wins and podiums. But if the Sakhir Grand Prix taught us anything, it's that Russell isn't shy when it comes to battling for a victory.

What to Expect From Mercedes in 2022

Courtesy - Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1

The battle between Hamilton and Russell will be one of the great storylines of 2022. Depending on how the order of competition plays out, we could see these two battling for the championship this season. Mercedes will have their hands full however as this new driver probably won't play by the same rules as Bottas did. Mercedes have enjoyed peace and tranquility with Bottas and Hamilton for 5 seasons but don't expect Russell to play the number two. As a young, hungry 23 year old, Russell has championship aspirations and he won't back down for anyone, even the seven time world champion. Hamilton will look to have a redemption year in 2022 but will he have the energy and stamina for another tireless F1 campaign at the age of 37? It will be interesting to see how this dynamic at Mercedes plays out in 2022 and whether the team will face similar conflicts as they did with Hamilton and Rosberg. Of course they've learned valuable lessons from those times but things but not be as smooth as they were in the Bottas/Hamilton era. With this new era of F1 kicking off in 2022, Mercedes will look to continue their dominance as it is important to remember they are the 8 time defending champions of the world. With the Silver Arrows livery back on the W13, will the dominance of Mercedes also return in 2022 as we've seen for most of the hybrid-era? Time will tell, but we've not gone long now until we find out just how quick this W13 is as the first week of testing is right around the corner!

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