Hamilton on battle with Russell: “We really needed to work as a team”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says “the fact is” he and George Russell “are not fighting each other in the championship”, and they “needed to work as a team”.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were engaged in several on-track clashes at the Japanese Grand Prix, at one point even going off the track at Spoon.

This caused Russell to complain to the team, asking “who do we want to fight here, each other or the others”, and later saying Lewis ‘pushed him off the track’.

Later on, in the final laps of the race, the team asked George to let Lewis through, because he was on much fresher tyres.

After the race Lewis said he thinks the swap should have been done earlier, and notes that his fights with Russell only hurt their race.

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“We should have swapped around earlier and I should have got as far ahead as possible to get the gap as big as we could to the Ferrari,” Lewis said.

“He [Russell] was trying to fight me, he was damaging his tyres and I think it just made it all complicated.

“The fact is we are not fighting each other in the championship. As drivers it is not important where we are.

“What is important is that one of us finishes ahead of the Ferrari and to keep the position.

“Today we really needed to work as a team,” Hamilton concluded.

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