Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ‘shocked’ as Brundle fears ‘crisis’

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Martin Brundle has suggested that Mercedes are in ‘crisis’ amid a difficult start to the 2023 campaign. Despite the season being just one race old, pessimism is rife in their ranks following the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton was fifth and George Russell seventh as the pair failed to keep pace with the front runners.

The weekend was dominated by Red Bull, with Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag from teammate Sergio Perez. It prompted an astonishing admission from Russell afterwards, who predicted the duo to win every single race between them in 2023.

Hamilton meanwhile, has also already conceded defeat in his bid for an eighth world title. He said even if the team can close the gap to the Constructive champions, it will “probably be too late in terms of fighting for a championship.”

And Friday’s practice sessions in Saudi Arabia ahead of Sunday’s race in Jeddah would have done little to lift the spirits of Toto Wolff and co. After the British pair were fifth and sixth respectively first time around, the second session saw Russell fifth but Hamilton down in 11th.

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Since Bahrain, Hamilton has claimed that Red Bull were up to 1.5 seconds a lap quicker than Mercedes, with pundit Brundle noting that the Silver Arrows have real problems: “That seems a lot. Is crisis too big a word for where they are at?” he said on Sky Sports.

The former driver is also perturbed at how the gap between Wolff’s team has regressed over the winter. “They certainly need to pull together,” he continued. “They need some direction and they need to make the right moves now. There’s no doubt about it, the car they had in Bahrain is further off the pace than anything they had last year. You can see how George and Lewis are shocked by that.”

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To compound matters for Hamilton in particular, the 38-year-old has confirmed his working relationship with long time physiotherapist and confidante Angela Cullen has ended. The New Zealander had assisted him since 201, and Brundle has weighed in on the blow.

“It’s not great news for Lewis,” he said. “Whenever you saw Lewis in the paddock or pit lane Angela was with him supporting him. When he was off training she’d be with him as well.”

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