George Russell spots Lewis Hamilton problem which could help Max Verstappen title bid

F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?

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George Russell has spotted a problem he shares with Lewis Hamilton following the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. Mercedes and Williams had contrasting results but may have similar issues behind closed doors.

Red Bull were the quickest all weekend but Mercedes took home the win thanks to some brilliant driving from Lewis Hamilton.

The 36-year-old was put under pressure by Max Verstappen during the final few laps but Hamilton was able to keep his rival at bay.

Hamilton and Verstappen are expected to be in a closely-fought title battle this season but Red Bull may have an advantage.

Russell is well placed to know how a Mercedes works as he stepped in for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year.

And he lifted the lid on a problem Williams had with driving in windy conditions, an issue he feels Mercedes also have.

“I believe Mercedes are in the same boat,” Russell said. “They probably had more trouble too, more than they will have in the coming races.

“Red Bull and teams like Alfa Romeo will have been just a little bit stronger in Bahrain, than they will be different in the coming races.

“We have to put up with it. To solve this you have to redesign the whole car.”

Red Bull chief Helmut Marko reckons Verstappen can stop Hamilton from winning an eighth world title this term if he gives it his all every race.

“The thing that Hamilton has over Max is incredible consistency,” Marko explained.

“I don’t know how many races he has, how many wins. You could see how he did a great job tactically, how he made line changes and so on. It was a very difficult race for Max.

“But again, they are more or less on a par with each other. Max will also be able to draw on a wealth of experience like Hamilton’s at some point.”

Marko is also hoping Verstappen will have assistance from new team-mate Sergio Perez.

“During qualifying, we should have put him on the soft tyre in the second session, that was our mistake,” the Austrian told RTL.

“We put Perez on the medium tyre then so we would have strategic options left. If Perez had started from fourth or fifth on the medium tyre he could have given Valtteri Bottas a hard time.

“Had he started on the soft tyre, he would probably have lost so much time on pit-stop strategy that an attack on the Mercedes driver would be difficult.”

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