F1: Is Lewis Hamilton past his peak, or is George Russell just better

–by Mark Cipolloni–

George Russell has been outperforming Mercedes F1 teammate Lewis Hamilton at just about every level this year.

Last year, Russell was settling in to the Mercedes team, a team very much centered around Lewis Hamilton.  Even then, Russell won a race, a pole and finished ahead of Hamilton in the final point standings.

38-year-old Hamilton won nothing.

Some people think Hamilton may be past his prime, but I wonder if Hamilton was overrated.  For years he had a superior car and inferior teammates, now in George Russell he has met his match.

Perhaps Hamilton is past his prime, but Fernando Alonso is much older and look how well he is performing. Hamilton also appears to be in the best shape of his life physically.

Former driver Johnny Herbert told ICE36: “Lewis may not be at his peak, that peak has gone by, but it is still a bloody high ability that he still possesses.

“I don’t see that being an issue at all.

“As we all know, for instance, if you play golf and you hit a great shot, that makes you feel, ‘I want to crack on’.

“That is the thing that can suddenly reignite that fire in Lewis which, I think, is slightly turned down at the moment, because it is not quite working out in the way that he wanted.”

“He is absolutely in the top-three British drivers ever,” he said.

“He is up against a new generation. There always has been in most decades.

“I remember Ayrton turning up and changing everything in ’84, Niki did likewise, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark.

“Then in the modern era it’s Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher.

“They are the special ones who come through every decade.

“And I think we are seeing that now with Max, Lando and George.”

Appearing on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast in March 2020, former McLaren and Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa outlined his belief, from the experience of his own racing career, that younger athletes have an inherent advantage over those from a previous generation.

“I’m of the opinion that all the new generations in any sport are better than the old ones,” he said.

“I know this sounds quite crude or surprising but it’s true because all the new sportsmen start from an earlier age – and I think this is critical.

“They are always confronted at an early age against better drivers than the average I was facing at that time.

“New generations will always be stronger and more complete, but on the other hand they will also end their careers earlier.

“I don’t think the new generations that come in at 18 years old into Formula 1 will be 40 and still racing in Formula 1.

“I think that when they are 30-35, they will finish.

“They will be burnt out because that’s how it is.”


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