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Hamilton resigned to trailing Russell all year

Hamilton resigned to trailing Russell all year
© Reuters
Lewis Hamilton gave a wry smile and remained mum when questioned about his prediction of being consistently outshone by Mercedes teammate George Russell this season.

Lewis Hamilton gave a wry smile and remained mum when questioned about his prediction of being consistently outshone by Mercedes teammate George Russell this season.

Despite ranking in the top three during all three practice sessions in Monaco, Hamilton found himself falling behind, landing seventh in qualifying, and two places behind Russell's silver car.

"I don't understand," Hamilton remarked post-qualifying. "But I already know that automatically I lose two tenths going into qualifying."

"I don't anticipate being ahead of George this year in qualifying," he added.

When probed further about why he believes this two-tenth gap will continue until his final race with Mercedes this year, before his switch to Ferrari for 2025, Hamilton merely shook his head and offered a smile.

Speculation suggests that the 39-year-old might now be isolated from certain technical advancements or systems that might eventually benefit his future team in Maranello.

He mentioned in Monaco that only his teammate Russell had access to the new front wing for this weekend's race.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has not yet confirmed Hamilton's replacement for next year, but signs point towards Kimi Antonelli, although Wolff remains open to the unlikely possibility of recruiting Max Verstappen.

Wolff acknowledged in Monaco, "Max is not going to get into a car that is not competitive, and at the moment we are not competitive enough to lure a world champion."

Meanwhile, despite his father Jos's return to the paddock after an extended absence, Verstappen clarified that ongoing internal conflict at Red Bull would not push him to leave.

"I would rather not have these stories - these things going on within the team," the triple world champion told the Guardian.

"My dad will always stay with me of course," Verstappen continued. "But they are not in conflict," he emphasized, addressing any supposed issues between his father Jos and team principal Christian Horner.

"People can have different opinions but that's a different story. I am quite a loyal person and it is something that means a lot to me. It would be amazing to finish my career here at Red Bull."

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