Lewis Hamilton ‘doesn’t want George Russell in front ever again’ after Imola horrorshow

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton will be motivated by finishing behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, according to Nico Rosberg – with the seven-time Drivers’ Championship winner wanting to ‘keep the fire on’ by never finishing second to the youngster again this season.

Hamilton started the race 14th on the grid after a poor qualifying time almost saw him come 15th at the end of Q1. It didn’t get better for Hamilton throughout the 63 laps, gaining just one place in the entire race after being embroiled in a battle with Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly for over an hour-and-a-half as he aimed to at least get into the top 10.

That didn’t happen, and it is now increasingly likely that Hamilton will fail to win the title for the second year in a row. Hamilton has now failed to finish on the podium for the first time since the Bahrain Grand Prix on the opening weekend of the season.

And Rosberg has sympathised with him after the Brit ruled himself out of the title race just four meetings into the new season. “That was tough to see Lewis in that state,” Rosberg said on Sky F1.

“It’s understandable. It’s a long season but they [Mercedes] are nowhere with that car. They aren’t even going to be able to fight for race wins any time soon so it’s difficult for Lewis to keep his motivation up.

“But I think he will manage because he is a fighter. There is always going to be that thing of wanting to beat your team-mate. That is going to be really, really important to him.

“And with George performing so well, that could be the biggest motivator for Lewis to keep going and keep going because he does not want to see George in front of him ever again. I think that will keep the fire on.”

Hamilton currently sits seventh in the Drivers’ Championship, already 58 points behind Charles Leclerc in first. It is a far cry from previous seasons, where the Brit has been in the top two every year since 2013.

And with rumours that he was set to retire in the off-season, this could well be Hamilton’s last in Formula One before retirement.

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