Hamilton ‘no longer number 1’ at Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has lost his de-facto status as Mercedes’ ‘number 1’ driver in Formula 1.

That is the view of Sascha Roos, the long-time commentator for Sky Deutschland’s coverage of the sport.

For 2022, Mercedes replaced Hamilton’s teammate of the previous five years – Valtteri Bottas – with the younger charger George Russell.

“I didn’t think Russell would score more points than Hamilton in his first year,” 50-year-old Roos said.

“I expect more from Hamilton in 2023 but I put it in pencil whether he is the undisputed number 1. I think it’s a similar situation at Mercedes now as in the time when Nico Rosberg was next to Hamilton,” he added.

Ultimately, the Hamilton-Rosberg situation descended into the destruction of their personal friendship as the latter went on to win the 2016 title.

“In the end last season, it was a clear story in Russell’s favour and I think Mercedes handled it very fairly.”

However, 37-year-old Hamilton and Mercedes intend to ink a new contract beyond 2023, with team boss Toto Wolff declaring this week: “Lewis is part of the team and the team is part of Lewis.

“There is no reason for that to not continue.”

Roos agrees that Hamilton should be offered a new contract for 2024 and beyond.

“He’s motivated,” he said. “But I don’t think there will be a situation between Hamilton and Russell as there was between Hamilton and Rosberg.

“At that time, to the outside world, it was always emphasised that Rosberg and Hamilton were on equal footing. But internally, Hamilton was preferred. In my opinion.

“When Valtteri Bottas came in, Hamilton was the clear number 1 to the outside. But Russell is not Bottas. Russell is more likely to enjoy Rosberg’s status.”

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