Nico Rosberg says George Russell has been “phenomenal” in a trying F1 season for Mercedes so far.
Russell sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship on 111 points – 34 points ahead of sixth-placed Hamilton, who branded his car “undriveable” on Friday practice ahead of last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix but recovered to finish 3rd in the race.
Russell has finished ahead of fellow Hamilton in seven of the nine races this season, with Hamilton’s podium finish in Montreal the first time he has topped Russell since the opening round in Bahrain.
Russell also leads Hamilton in qualifying 5-4.
Speaking on Any Driven Monday, 2016 world champion and Hamilton’s former team-mate, Rosberg said: “George has done an awesome job, phenomenal with how difficult that car has been to drive.
“To be so consistent, driving so well, not making any mistakes, always getting the maximum out of it, he has been brilliant.
“On Saturday, one would think, ‘okay, keep it safe, bring home another P4 or P5 in qualifying’ but no. He said, ‘I am going to put my slicks on, I only care about pole position’. That is really awesome.
“Lewis is driving at his best. He has just had an unbelievably unlucky season with all these different things going against him. Canada was a normal weekend, and he delivered in the usual outstanding way.
“That driver pairing is so strong, incredible, but, make no mistake, Lewis hates passionately to ever come second to a teammate, so he will be ultra-motivated and pushing hard internally.
“The [Mercedes] car in the race was really decent. I thought it was so remarkable how George right after the start made headway, passing one car after another down into the hairpin.
“I think they are making progress, but there is still some way to go to Ferrari and Red Bull. They can’t win at Silverstone, they are still too far away.”
AR1 Comment: DO NOT count Mercedes out at Silverstone. Many teams are bringing upgrades for this race, especially Mercedes.