Lewis Hamilton issues verdict on ‘leader’ claims in Mercedes partnership

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed claims he is the 'leader' in the Mercedes team and stated both he and teammate George Russell work 'equally' in their bid to improve the team's fortunes.

The eight-time consecutive Constructor's Champions have endured a woeful start to the 2022 season, with the new Formula One regulations proving to be a problem as Mercedes have struggled to solve their 'porpoising' issues.

However, improvements in the team were shown in Barcelona where Russell secured his second podium finish of the season, while Hamilton rose to sixth after fighting back spectacularly from a first-lap puncture following a collision with Haas' Kevin Magnussen.

Trailing teammate Russell by 28 points in the standings, Hamilton has been outperformed by his new colleague and has had to use his experience to help further the team – but he made it clear he doesn't feel as if he's the leader within the team.

When Russell was asked at a press conference what qualities he saw in Hamilton as a leader, the seven-time world champion interjected and said: “Well, firstly, I wouldn’t say I’m the leader. George and I work equally hard together, I would say, to help drive the team and row just as hard as everyone else in the team.

“But through adversity and challenging times you always learn more about yourself, how you deal with things, how you reflect on things, how you are able to turn negatives into positives. I wouldn’t say I’ve learned particularly much more, so I will say past experiences have helped during this phase. And I would say to just reassuring the strength I know I have mentally.

“Also, just reassuring us I still love my job, I still love the challenge even if it’s not fighting for wins. I’m still enjoying this battle we are having internally in terms of trying to, with the car I mean, trying to chase down these other guys.”

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Russell's verdict then followed, where he stated it was 'inspiring' to see how the team push each other: “I think that’s been one of the big things I’ve seen with joining Mercedes, seeing how Lewis does things, how Toto [Wolff] does things, the culture that’s ingrained within everyone.

“It’s sort of relentless. They are always striving for more, never being complacent and seeing how everyone’s pulling together at the moment to try and resolve these issues we are facing, it inspires and it’s also motivating for myself because you learn how the best in the business do it and you need to continuously push yourself for more. So I think I’m in a really privileged position to be team-mates with Lewis and be part of Mercedes.”

Mercedes will seek to continue their resurgence in Monte Carlo this weekend, as Monaco brings an end to a three-race month of May which is the second-busiest month on the 2022 calendar.

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