Hamilton ready to pile pressure on Russell, says Button

By Sports Desk February 21, 2023

Lewis Hamilton will be eager to put pressure on Mercedes team-mate George Russell and the rest of the grid as soon as the 2023 Formula One season begins.

That is the view of Hamilton's former team-mate Jenson Button after a 2022 campaign where Mercedes surprisingly finished third in the constructors' championship, 244 points behind winners Red Bull.

Hamilton was sixth in the drivers' standings, two places and 35 points behind Russell in the latter's first season with the team.

Russell recorded the only Mercedes win of the season in the penultimate race in Sao Paulo, though Hamilton also produced a strong finish that included a run of three consecutive second-place berths.

After a rare campaign where the seven-time world champion finished behind his team-mate in the championship and went the whole campaign without a race win, Button is expecting a fast start.

"I think he'll start this year flat out," former world champion Button told Sky Sports about Hamilton.

"He's going to be on it from the word go.

"I look forward to seeing that - it's going to put a lot of pressure on George Russell, but I think it's a good pairing and I look forward to that fight.

"Mercedes have given him a winning car for so many years.

"Last year they obviously didn't, but the car did win a race, so you'd say at the end of the year, they were strong.

"And I think Lewis was on it. His performances were very consistent through mid to end of season, very, very quick."


The new season begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.

Ahead of the campaign at the team's car launch last week, Hamilton, 38, insisted he expects to sign a new deal, with his current contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Team boss Toto Wolff reiterated that confidence, but Button warned that situation could change if Mercedes produce a car that is uncompetitive once more.

Button added: "It's something we all go through at some point in our career and it's a reason a lot of people retire – because they're not in a winning car any more.

"That's why I left. You can deal with the pressure you put yourself under and the calendar if you're in a winning car. 

"When you're not, it's like, 'you know what, I've had enough, I want to get out'."

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