Villeneuve says 'changing of the guard' has happened at Mercedes

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Jacques Villeneuve believes that "a changing of the guard" has finally happened at Mercedes, with George Russell superseding Lewis Hamilton.

In Miami, Russell scored his fifth consecutive top-ten finish, out-racing his teammate for the fourth time this season.

Also, for the first time this year, the pair engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle, with Russell coming out on top, although the Briton's fresher tyres - courtesy of a timely late safety car - left little doubt as to the outcome of the tussle.

"George did a great job, it was fair, he had fresh tyres, so I was a bit of a sitting duck," said Hamilton.

Nevertheless it appears that so far, Russell has coping better than the seven-time world champion with the complexities and troubles impacting the Brackley squad's 2022 car.


But Villeneuve believes that Russell's better results also reflect a crucial transition that is taking place at Mercedes.

"I think we have seen the final changing of the guard at Mercedes," the 1997 F1 world champion wrote in his column for

"George Russell is riding the wave, Lewis Hamilton is trying not to drown. After many years of winning without competition, it’s hard to wake up and realise it’s not that easy.

"He now has to drive like he did in his first two years in Formula 1, which is what Russell is doing now. In the race Russell took the decision: leave me out, maybe a safety car will come – and it paid off.

"Lewis’ champion’s luck seems to have left him, he doesn’t have the momentum and nothing’s going his way."

But Villeneuve isn't counting Hamilton out just yet and the Canadian tips the Briton to fight back.

"It’s going to be a tough fight, but Lewis is a racer and a champion," he added. "He knows what needs to be done and we’ll see if he still has the energy to do it.

"But I think missing the world title last year is a heavy burden for him that he carried with him all winter.

"He was bitter and feels that he was robbed. But you can see from the way Max drives that he didn’t steal the title at all and is a deserved champion."

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