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27 May 2024

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell treated equally at Mercedes – Toto Wolff

27 May 2024

Toto Wolff has insisted Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell is not receiving preferential treatment at Mercedes.

Hamilton was out-qualified by Russell for the seventh time in eight races in Monaco and finished behind his team-mate in Sunday’s 78-lap race.

Mercedes introduced an upgraded front wing in Monte Carlo, but it was used only on Russell’s car.

After Hamilton was out-qualified by Russell at the street venue, the 39-year-old, who is leaving the Silver Arrows at the end of the year to join Ferrari, said he does not envisage beating his fellow Briton over one lap for the remainder of the season.

But responding to Hamilton’s cryptic comment, Mercedes team principal Wolff said: “Aren’t all drivers a bit sceptical at times?

“As a team we have always demonstrated – even in the most tense competitions between team-mates – that we are always trying to balance what is right and be transparent and fair.

“I can understand as a driver you want the best out of yourself and the team, and sometimes when it is going against you you can question that.

“But as a team we are 100 per cent on a mission of giving both drivers the best possible cars and strategies.

“We are trying to do the best out of the relationship (with Hamilton). Trying to maximise the results for what is our final season together. And that situation between drivers and teams can be tense at times because everybody wants to do the best.”

Hamilton is one place and 12 points behind seventh-placed Russell in the drivers’ standings, with Mercedes a distant fourth in the constructors’ championship.

McLaren and Ferrari are instead leading the fight to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, with Lando Norris claiming his maiden win in Miami earlier this month before Charles Leclerc’s first triumph on home soil in Monaco on Sunday.

As a team we are 100 per cent on a mission of giving both drivers the best possible cars and strategies.

Verstappen started and finished sixth following an off-colour weekend for Red Bull.

Leclerc has reduced Verstappen’s championship advantage to 31 points with Norris 56 points behind the Dutchman ahead of the next round in Canada on June 9.

And Norris, who finished fourth in the principality, said: “Red Bull are not struggling all of a sudden.

“It is always close here, and they didn’t have the best weekend, but both we and Ferrari have brought upgrades and they are not as quick as they used to be.

“It is amazing to see a podium without a Red Bull driver. And as bad as it is to say, it is also great for people watching, and for other drivers that the opportunities are there.

“Charles gained a lot of points on Max. I gained some points on Max, so bit-by-bit maybe we can close in? “If we can keep it up, there is a chance to catch them in the future.”

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