Published On: Mon, Nov 20th, 2023
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Lewis Hamilton has shut up George Russell claims after Las Vegas GP | F1 | Sport

Lewis Hamilton continued to prove that he is the No.1 driver at Mercedes after again finishing ahead of his teammate George Russell at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, putting to bed suggestions that his younger team-mate would take his spot. The seven-time world champion has picked up more points than his fellow Brit at all the last three races since getting disqualified from last month’s United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 38, scored 6 points in Sin City to take two more than his teammate after Russell got hit with a 5-second time penalty. That meant the 25-year-old finished 8th and one place behind his teammate despite a late surge seeing him cross the line in 4th behind only Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez.

The penalty came after causing a collision with the eventual race winner, Verstappen, on lap 25. Russell took full responsibility for the contact, saying after the race it was “totally my fault.”

It continued a frustrating few weeks for him after having to retire early during the Brazilian GP due to the risk of an imminent power unit failure risk. Despite struggling with speed, Hamilton stayed out on the track, finishing 8th.

It was a far cry from a week earlier at the Mexican GP when the veteran took 2nd place behind Verstappen. Meanwhile, Russell was down in 6th, almost 30 seconds behind his Mercedes teammate.

That podium for Hamilton was his 6th of the season. Only Red Bull’s Verstappen (20) and Perez (9), his former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso (8) and compatriot Lando Norris (7) have more.

Meanwhile, Russell is joint with Apline’s Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly on a single podium, which came at the Spanish GP when Hamilton came a place ahead of him in 2nd. Ferrari’s Leclerc (5) and Sainz (3), plus McClaren’s Oscar Piastri (2), are the other drivers to stand on the podium this season. Hamilton continuing to get the best of his team-mate will put an end to previously-held theories that Russell was set to oust Hamilton from his spot.

Hamilton had been expected to surrender the spot as number one driver, with former world champion Jacques Vieleneuve suggesting last year that the team was set for a power shift.

Speaking after the Dutch Grand Prix in 2022, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve tore into Hamilton for failing to go into the pits to change tyres – handing the advantage to Red Bull.

He said at the time: “I see a change within Mercedes, George Russell is quickly developing into the leader of the team. He took the decision to go for the soft tyres himself. Hamilton, with all his experience and championships, could have done the same.”

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