Mercedes investigating Lewis Hamilton data as George Russell admits to being perplexed | F1 | Sport

Mercedes are looking into the considerable pace differentials between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at different races throughout the season after the latter discussed his confusion over the big performance gaps experienced by the two drivers on a week-to-week basis.

The two Mercedes drivers were split at 11-all in the qualifying head-to-head battle following Russell’s impressive display in Abu Dhabi, although neither of the pair were happy with the state of the W14’s development come the final race of the year.

Despite Hamilton having the upper hand in more of the races, there were plenty of occasions when Russell would be the more dominant driver throughout a race weekend before the pendulum would swing again at the next event.

“It’s definitely something we’ve noticed,” Russell explained after the final race of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit. “Lewis and I, over the course of the year, I don’t think we’ve ever been at the same pace.

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“Over the last few years, our qualifying record is almost the same. But it’s either one driver is six-tenths ahead of the other. So it’s something we’re trying to understand. I think often when you’re slightly on the backfoot as a driver, you’re chasing to close that gap.

“Sometimes in doing so, you take a step backwards rather than actually close that gap naturally. It’s something I’m trying to figure out myself and I’m sure he’s trying to figure out as well.”

This trend was particularly evident towards the back end of the campaign as Hamilton showed immense pace at both the United States and Mexican Grands Prix, only to struggle to make an impact during the races in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, Russell produced arguably his best performance of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit, qualifying in P4 while Hamilton was knocked out in Q2, before claiming just his second podium finish of the season as Mercedes pipped Ferrari to P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Hamilton was far from content with the performance he experienced from the W14 in Abu Dhabi. Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after qualifying, he said: “Not great, just struggling with balance. I don’t have any answers.

“Honestly, at this point, it is what it is. We set our cars up the same but they don’t read the same so there’s something not right on our side. I’m sure we will deep dive into it but I’ve been off all weekend, we have struggled with the car.”

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