Toto Wolff has denied claims that George Russell is now Mercedes’ star driver ahead of Lewis Hamilton following the young Brit’s impressive performances for the Silver Arrows. Russell has outperformed Hamilton in four of the five races so far this season ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Russell, 24, joined Mercedes from Williams in the summer after a series of relatively strong outings for his former side. He has done extremely well since his move, becoming the only driver to finish in the top five in every race of the season.
It is a far cry from last year, with Hamilton coming second overall by the finest of margins and Russell finishing 15th. Yet despite their swap around in fortunes, Wolff refused to admit that Russell was now their No 1 after a number of high-profile figures in F1, including Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, suggested he was ahead of Hamilton.
“I hardly follow it,” Wolff told Sport24 Auto after being asked if he had seen their recent comments. “And if I overhear one or the other comment, I can only smile about it.
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“We still don’t understand our car. At Friday training in Miami, we had a really good day and were among the fastest. Suddenly everything was different again on Saturday. Minimal changes in the setup have a big impact.”
Wolff is however still not ruling them out of challenging for the Constructors’ Championship, adding: “No, we’re not at all (ruling ourselves out). We’ve only got the fifth race behind us, you can’t write anything off then, it can swing in our direction again. And in terms of points, we’re not far behind.”
The next race falls in Barcelona on Sunday.