Hamilton asks F1 fans not to spread «negativity» with favouritism claims

Lewis Hamilton has asked his Formula 1 fans not to spread «negativity» following a recent debate about possible favouritism towards his team-mate George Russell.

With Hamilton leaving for Ferrari at the end of 2024, his results compared to Russell have come under added scrutiny, particularly in the context of the younger Briton currently possessing a 9-2 qualifying head-to-head record.

Russell leads Hamilton by 14 points in the drivers’ standings and Russell took pole in Canada after Hamilton had topped FP3.

Hamilton also sparked a particular focus on the dynamics within Mercedes when he said «performance comes away from my car, for some reason» after he had qualified two places behind Russell in Monaco.

At that event, the focus centred on how Russell was running Mercedes’ new front wing, which has been credited with boosting the performance of the W15 significantly, and how Hamilton said he had «anticipated it would be difficult to outqualify George because he has the upgraded component.»

But Autosport understands that Hamilton had, however, been offered to run the same wing, but chose not to as he had deemed a qualifying crash too risky in the circumstances.

This was considering how Mercedes only had one example of the new wing at the time and breaking it would mean having to revert to an older specification and starting from the pitlane in Monaco, where overtaking is essentially impossible in modern F1 machines.

The Mercedes drivers’ contrasting fortunes in Canada then led to considerable speculation on social media about Mercedes possibly showing favouritism towards Russell.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton was specifically asked by reporters if there was something he wanted to say to his fans regarding this development.

«Yeah, I think they know that we’re…» he replied. «If you look at the years, we’ve always been a strong team. We’ve always worked really hard together.

«I think it’s easy to get emotional. But I think it’s always… I even commented in the last race, for example, just about my performance.

«I think we need support, not negativity. I wasn’t actually aware that George was experiencing negativity.

«George does nothing but his best every single weekend and he’s developing with the team. So, he can’t be faulted at all.

«Of course, there can always be things that are better within the team. And that comes through conversation, through communication.

«And that’s something that we’ve been consistently working on. But we’re all in the same boat. We’re all working hard together. We all want to finish on a high and I feel we owe that to our long-term relationship.»

When asked about the situation and Hamilton defending him, Russell, speaking alongside his team-mate in the Mercedes motorhome in the Barcelona paddock, said: «Personally I don’t look on Instagram or Twitter, to be honest.

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«I still sort of control my own accounts, so what my team and all of the content that goes out is through me – the captions, everything is all of my messaging.

«But I think social media is a really double-edged sword, there’s so many funny things that you see on social media and it keeps you up to date with so much, but then on the flip side it’s not just myself, but everybody in the limelight, there seems to be negativity pointed towards them.

«And like Lewis said, you want to feel their support, and not giving out negativity to others.

«So, as I said, it’s not something I’ve seen or heard about it [from viewing comments online]. Of course, it’s never nice to hear this stuff, but that’s unfortunately the world we live in at the moment.

«And what any person in the public eye is facing.»

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