Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

Hamilton: Russell did an “amazing job” as substitute

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he’s “super-excited” to return to racing this weekend and praised George Russell for doing an “amazing job” as his substitute at the last race.

The world champion missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19. He returned to his car for the first time today while Russell has rejoined Williams.

Hamilton told Sky he was “very, very happy and grateful this morning just to be back here.”

“It felt like a first day back at school kind of thing,” he said. “It definitely took a minute to get back used to it for the first session.”

A problem with the brakes on his Mercedes in the first session cost Hamilton over half an hour of running.

“In the second one I was still getting my bearings but [it was] not too bad,” he said. “I think we got through most of the stuff we missed out in the 40 minute session at the start of the day but otherwise we got most of the stuff done.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020
Hamilton was back in action for Mercedes today
Technical problems struck again in second practice, when Hamilton briefly stopped in the pits and was heard telling his team he had “no gears”.

“It’s definitely been a bit of a messy day with a lot going on,” he said. “The guys have obviously been on the road for three weeks so we’ve had a couple of gremlins but we come through like we always do and tomorrow, I know, will be better.

“We got through a lot of things that we need to test for next year today. The guys are just working as hard as they can to work on things for next year.”

Asked what he thought of Russell’s performance last weekend, Hamilton said: “I think George did an amazing job. I think everyone knows that.

“For me, in my 27 years of racing I’ve never missed a race. One day I’ll write a book about it. But as I said I’m just grateful to be back.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Hamilton: Russell did an “amazing job” as substitute”

  1. Good to see Lewis has recovered, though he’s spent so long in his room, his clothes have started blending into the wallpaper. Fairly amazing never to have missed a race in his entire career.

    1. @david-br How common is it though? Genuine question. At the face of it, I would have thought that most drivers on the grid would not have missed any races in their career till now unless they suffered injuries from accidents such as Alonso or Kubica.

      1. @mashiat Yes it’s a good question. Overall 27 years is a long time, can you imagine a footballer or tennis player never missing a match over a similar period? The level of concentration and stamina for GPs is often extraordinary high. Tet even with heavy flu in Germany last year Lewis was still racing, in the wet – and yet his spin off track was seen as an avoidable error (not an effect of not being 100% fit). F1 seems intensely and unforgivingly demanding by comparison, especially when you factor in the danger present.

  2. Never knew F1 fans cared so much about Mercedes’s finances up until recently. Paragraphs and essays on how and why they can save 50m by replacing drivers and still achieve same results. What does an arm chair expert know that they don’t know, was my question this whole time lol.

    Even better they can go further by hiring a ‘pay driver’ no? Why pay George £5m when you can make £15m from Latifi, no? I mean, anyone can win in a Mercedes (Not with Lewis as a team mate tho). What about Red Bull, sack Max and put Checo and still achieve the same 3rd place whilst making money at it. No one made noise when Renault signed Daniel for that hefty £25m. They could just have signed Robert Kubica and made cash.

    No one really cared about what drivers earned until there was an opportunity for them to use it against Lewis by somehow pressuring Merc into saving money by going for Russell 😂. Salt!

    1. Cause there are these people who jump on bandwagon reasons. Rather than sacking Verstappen and replacing him with Perez, if people care so much about financing in the sport, why not just kick out the 2nd car at Red Bull, and make Red Bull a one-car team since it is useless and that it cannot even compete at the front, especially if it is guaranteed that every weekend that car will spin or crash. Oh wait a second, every weekend there is at least a Red Bull spinning or crashing, so it is normal already for them.

    2. @lums On this topic, including there’s an interesting quote from Marko:

      First of all, he is a Mercedes driver, and secondly, he is managed by Toto Wolff. He told us, incidentally, that he has a 10-year contract with Wolff. That is something we cannot accept for our drivers.

      Is that right? 10 years sounds a long time, especially for a young driver to sign. And should a team manager also be a driver manager? There are a lot of potential issues there over Russell’s freedom to work where he wants over a big chunk of his career.

    3. You make a good point with the Latiffi angle. Surely if “they” cared so much about Mercedes’ finances, “they” will see the merit in the team taking on a pay driver.

    4. I think that most people looked at George’s performances in the Williams, where mid>rear of Q2 was the best he has so far achieved, then compared that with his drives last weekend. Begs the question, how many others from the grid could also give Hamilton a run for his money (no pun intended, but it’s an appropriate phrase) in a 2020 Mercedes?

    5. I posted something similar recently. Not on here mind. I dont agree with many on here but id never accuse them of ignorance and not knowing how much it costs to get that extra 0.5 secs a lap and why Lewis, Max get the big bucks. Because they’re cheap. Perhaps only Williams in the 80s and 90s thought a drivers worth was limited but even at their peak they still chased Senna’s signature.

      And whilst some think one good drive means a George can maintain that over a season or, perhaps 13, i’m a bit more circumspect. But everyone needs representation, and even the poor middle class white man needs a hero.

    6. @lums,

      so you missed a lot it seems

      No one made noise when Renault signed Daniel for that hefty £25m

      maybe some googling would help you there.

      What does an arm chair expert know that they don’t know, was my question this whole time lol.

      Most armchair experts gave a genuine opinion. When Russell will be used to the Mercedes and fit in the Hamilton special, he will do the same.
      Upgrading a contract to a very hefty 40 million while you have to sack a lot of people.. even hamilton thought it was distasteful to upgrade his contract in this Pandemic. And that shows a lot.

      No one really cared about what drivers earned

      every year there is a article about the driver salarys and a lot of flack on them.
      Concluding.. you are probably a typical Hamilton supporter. Blind for the rest of the field and missing a lot ;)
      But there is hope. use google to find the answers on your questions if mine do not fit your narrative.

      1. did you know the anagram of your name includes the word ‘j e r k’ ?

      2. @erikje
        You are right that I am a 100% Typical Lewis Hamilton (and Mercedes) Supporter. You can tell ‘cos I only leave comments on articles that mostly has to do with Lewis, as opposed to eagerly waiting to spew drivel on other drivers or teams I don’t care for.

        Also, you are absolutely on the ball with your opinion and I agree 100%. Having said that, I will personally write to Mercedes to consider further cost savings by considering hiring Latiffi. Copy and paste the same letter to Red bull to replace Max for Checo. After all they can save themselves very hefty driver salaries. I’d also advise Ferrari to snatch Mazepin from Hass for Charles to save themselves some nuggets too.

        I’m still baffled as to why it is obvious to us arm chair experts on how to manage Mercedes’ books and drivers, but not to Toto Wolff that actually runs the team. Maybe he does not actually know what he is doing? Genuine question by the way, or can I find the answer on google too?

        1. So it seems you agree but fail to understand the meaning behind the words.
          Lewis is without a doubt a great driver. He collected 7 WDC’s and is very consistent.
          But…
          As Russell showed he is the right stuff. He probably will make some mistakes but in this car you can do that ( look at Bottas, still number two in the standings)
          Mercedes is larger then Toto… if its about lots of millions the board will decide who will drive.
          If its Lewis for a lot of money (even more then he earns now!) its something not every member will like.
          Running a topteam with a very promising new talent and send him on the way to a WDC is very attractive for a brand. They can go for safety ( mercs name suggests) or they can go for the future.
          The other examples you used are very different drivers, lot less money involved and the replacement drivers do not belong tot the level Russell shows.

          1. Oh I see, so now you are implying that its Daimler board of members that may decide who will drive as some members may not see the point of spending £50m on Lewis when they have George. How come you’ve managed to figure out what is happening but they can’t (Mercedes and Daimler). I mean if it’s that transparent, Lewis should be out of contract by now, no? One race from George Russel automatically shows he is the right stuff? The same opinion was floating around when KMag entered the sport, ah! even Albon showed brilliance last year when he was subbed in for Gasly.

            I believe George is the future of Mercedes and the right heir to Lewis’ throne, but to even think all it comes down to is the car is somewhat disrespectful to Lewis and the entire MercedesAmg formula 1 team, including Daimler. All the collaborative effort between the engineers and drivers to produce such a beast of a car that even someone like George can jump in and drive into the sunset has been reduced to ‘luck’ by you and some others. If I were to criticise Red bull/Max for not matching up to Mercedes now, i’m sure your blood pressure will reach boiling point (no one defends their incompetency like you)

            Running a topteam with a very promising new talent and send him on the way to a WDC is very attractive for a brand. They can go for safety ( mercs name suggests) or they can go for the future.
            As opposed to clinching an 8th WDC with Lewis? Imagine what that would do to the brand.

    7. Paragraphs and essays on how and why they can save 50m by replacing drivers and still achieve same results.

      What you saw last week was George leading a race while driving Lewis’s car on an easy track. That car wasn’t developed by Mercedes with George’s help, it was developed by Mercedes with the help of Lewis and Valtteri, as well as contributions by previous drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Also, Lewis would have learnt a lot from being team mates with Fernando and Jenson. Replacing Lewis with a cheaper driver would make sense if all he did was to drive, but when you’re asking the driver to do things like getting better tyre life and to help develop the car, then you’re not paying for just driving, you’re paying for discernment about what’s require to enhance a car’s performance.

      1. @drycrust
        Well said. I agree.

        Although some believe Lewis has been a passenger his entire career in the best of cars, and that if you watch his on-boards closely, he is actually not driving the car. The car is actually piloting itself. So I guess they are correct when they say ‘anyone can win in that Mercedes’. See comments from @erikje

        1. @lums

          Alot of these people are just anti Lewis and in some instances, just straight up casuals. Any knowledgeable and sensible F1 fan will know that one weekend does not a great driver make. George didn’t have to deal with world champions as team mates last weekend, didn’t have to deal with adversity and come through to win like we have seen with Lewis many a time. Heck it didn’t even rain so we don’t even know how he’d fare in that situation; his wet weather results aren’t that stunning and rain is the great equaliser. Even Stroll shines in the rain for gods sake. Short track with not many corners which means gaps were tighter across the entire field. But frankly alot of people also don’t understand that Lewis is not an exceptional case in winning with the best car- in fact, he is the last driver to win a championship with a car that did not win the constructors. Not saying Russell is no good but he still has to prove his case week in week out, year in year out like accomplished champions have.

          1. @blazzz
            You see, the thing with the anti-Lewis ‘fans’ are, they all know he is the GOAT. They do. They are not just happy about it, that’s why they put in so much work to try and diminish his accomplishments every opportunity they get. they criticise him on and off track, his driving, his wins and losses, his dressing, what he says, who he says it to.

            If Lewis jumps into that Williams (as some suggests Toto should make happen) and miraculously wins the race. They will still find an excuse as to how he lucked into it. Nothing you can say will make them appreciative of witnessing such an era in F1.

          2. But even “accomplished champions” can prove they are not performing week in and week out, look at vettel, he’s performing like 2-3 races a year.

          3. @esploratore

            True. The beauty of sport is- athletes decline. Look at guys who once looked invincible- like Schumi. Rosberg showed him a clean pair of heels. Away from F1, look at Messi and Ronaldo. Usain Bolt. Shells of their former selves. But that still doesn’t mean they weren’t the best during their time. No one will ever take away Vettel’s titles- he defeated Alonso, Hamilton and Webber in 2010. Had competition in 2012. He’s produced some stunning qualy laps. Won in the wet in a Toro Rosso in Monza. His performances now are not up to scratch but fact is he was a top top driver once. Russell is yet to show he can do that consistently so your point is moot.

            @lums
            Mostly agree. I am not sure about HAM being the GOAT (yet) despite being a fan. When he retires, IMO,that’s when that conversation shoould be had. But there is no doubt- and there’s no need to take my word for it- that Lewis is a handful of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen.

    8. +1 Very well articulated

  3. Yes, Lewis. He did the job and it all went like clockwork, wham bam thank you mam.
    And having seen that, we can’t un-see it.

    1. Lol. Clockwork eh? :)

      He finished 8th or 9th.

      Should have stayed out.

  4. One day he’ll write a book about missing a race? I’m quite the Lewis fan but I would not buy that book :P

    1. We all know what he means. Something was going on behind the scenes that we arent aware about. What that was, only the Merc Bubble know.
      A book by Lewis, whenhris finished in F1 and out of any liability contracts, will be fascinating. Especially whe he reveals all about the Rosberg era. I think Rosberg is a sly, sneaky, smelly Dog and it WILL come out.

  5. Who the hell is dressing this guy. A curtain salesman?

    1. The top fashion houses. Thats why he gets $8 million from Hilfiger. The ‘deckchair’ outfit a while back was purely to enhance the look of a limited addition watch that made £4.6 million for IWC, the red and black leathers to flog $5 million of bikes, the zoolander outfit $50,000 for charity, and so on. Prob find him in this outfit in a few weeks time in the mens mags flogging the trainers or something. Well paid work if you can get it
      Thankfully though he doesn’t have to dress in red pyjamas covered in badges or wear pink overalls like some in the paddock do.

      1. And what’s your point. He is still dressed like a kitchen towel. He already has hundreds of millions, he has no need to dress like a table cloth for a few extra million.

      2. Eight million to dress like that? Not sure it is enough.

        1. Now, now; don’t get bitchy. Didn’t realise theirs so many fashion queens on this site.

    2. He wanted Nicole in a matching outfit….

      1. Nicole dresses better than him and that’s saying something.

    3. Imagine everyone (including Lewis) wearing the same bland white shirt, oversized creased up trousers, with dead shoes. No one would be here sharing their opinion on what another man choses to wear. I like the occasional case when someone chooses to stand out from the crowd.

    4. Yeh, not to my tastes but is this what its come to? His driving cant be criticised so we will criticise X, Y & Z. sad

      1. Les Paul style head stock ? cool !

  6. A two sizes smaller jackets are fashionable now? Just so I know, I have to update my wardrobe.

    1. Living in lockdown took care of that for me. Staying at home eating and drinking means that all my clothes are at least two sizes too small now.

  7. Man, who’s his taylor?

    1. Swift. He likes her voice.

    2. Who’s yours Burtons?

  8. Lol at first glance I thought oh my goodness he’s still got COVID all over him;)

    Looking up close I see that the pattern is guitar head stocks and that to me helps greatly, even though it is nothing I would even try to pull off lol.

    1. I know right, he hasn’t even got a bow tie on.

  9. He did a good job and exposed you like a mechanical advantage champion.

  10. Don’t worry guys, nobodies trying to force you out of your mom jeans.

    And he seems to have gone for the understated look for his employees.

    https://www.autosport.com/fe/news/154110/wrc-legend-loeb-joins-hamilton-x44-xe-team

    1. You’re right obviously Ian (well apart from the mom in the mom jeans bit) and usually I think Hamilton’s style is great. Just not into the matching trousers and jacket look.

  11. I don’t understand the comments about it taking time to get used to it again, and was still getting his bearings in the second practice.

    I mean he hasn’t driven for 12 days.

    I’m just a little confused about his comment is all. Schumacher missed 6 races with a broken leg in 1999 and came back one second ahead of the field.

    It’s good to see he acknowledged how good George was. I think George would have topped both practice sessions today.

    1. Hahaha You have absolutely no idea how George would or wouldn’t have done. You crack on though sweety.

  12. @blazzz Didn’t realise McLaren didn’t win the constructors in 2008, thanks for that info.

    George did good, but I pondered if Hamilton was driving would it have been a standard Merc win?

    If Hamilton gets the 8th title next year, for me he’s 🐐.

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