Hill blames Mercedes for Russell's mistakes: 'Needs to be backed harder'

F1 News

Damon Hill on why Mercedes aren't backing George Russell enough
12 June at 09:00
  • Ben Stevens

Damon Hill thinks that the Silver Arrows aren't putting enough trust in George Russell, which is bringing out mistakes. The 1996 World Champion saw the Canadian Grand Prix as a much better weekend for Mercedes. After struggling with their car so far this season, they managed to take pole position with George Russell, which he converted into a P3 finish on Sunday's race. His outgoing teammate, Lewis Hamilton, finished P4.

Russell trying to prove himself too hard

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast after the Canadian Grand Prix, Hill believes that Mercedes aren't backing George Russell enough, despite Russell having taken their only win of these regulation cars back in 2022. "He is trying to establish himself as the lead driver," Hill said, "They're talking all the time about who's going to be his teammate for next year, rather than talking up George. I think that Mercedes ought to back him a bit harder.

"They ought to give him a bit more confidence. And then he doesn't perhaps have to try so hard to prove himself in the race, because it seems to me he's trying to compensate a little bit for stuff. I think he needs to cool it."

Wolff comments unnecessary? 

Despite challenging Max Verstappen and Lando Norris for the race win during Sunday's race, Russell had the voice of team boss Toto Wolff in his ears after making a mistake on Lap 51. Russell hit the kerb in turn eight, which sent his car wide into turn nine and meant Norris behind him could retake second place. Russell had sworn over the team radio, to which Wolff responded with "Focus George Focus"

Hill gave his opinion on this situation: "I think it can be slightly undermining if you're getting coached by your team boss over the radio during the race, being told to sort of focus. I think he knows what he's doing,  as a famous racing driver."

It wasn't the only time Wolff could be heard on the Mercedes team radio. He also had comments for Hamilton after the race, which Hamilton didn't respond to.