Herbert: Changing of the guard 'starting to appear' at Mercedes


Ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert believes that George Russell's flawless display and maiden win at Interlagos signals a changing of the guard at Mercedes.

Russell enjoyed a near perfect weekend by winning Saturday's Sprint event and then dominating the following day's Brazilian Grand Prix, conquering his first career win in Formula 1 while delivering to Mercedes its first victory of 2022.

Russell never put a foot wrong during the tricky 71-lap race that was disrupted by two safety car periods, while Lewis Hamilton finished second, completing Mercedes' success.

For Herbert, there is no doubt that the times are changing at the Brackley squad, with the dawn of a new era.

"It’s very significant as well, his battle with Lewis Hamilton," Herbert said. “This is the changing of the guard starting to appear.

"We’ve seen it with Max Verstappen being a two-time World Champion over the last two years, but now George, this is going to be something so powerful for him in his career.

"It was just the manner that he won the race. He did it in such a beautiful, consistent fashion throughout. He’s under pressure, pressure that he’s never felt before, and he delivered.

"Brilliant job!"

Mercedes finally appears to be out of the woods with its W13 broncing bronco that forced its engineers to dig in deep to solve the new-generation car's multiple complexities and issues.

If the German outfit can further improve its current form for 2023, Herbert would be willing to put his money on Russell for the world title next season.


"The two things that have come together; the race win, now he can concentrate on the last race coming our way in Abu Dhabi," Hebert said.

"Then it’s really down to Mercedes to supply the car which hasn’t been the case throughout this season.

"Now they have got themselves in a much, much better position. And when that position has come George’s way, he’s grabbed it and he’s delivered.

"With the race win that he’s got in Brazil, it’ll carry him through to Abu Dhabi with a completely different confidence when he gets into the cockpit.

"Yes he’s won a race, but he also beat Lewis Hamilton at the same time.

"So this is brilliant for him, and if they can supply him a car and continue this development programme that they’ve done in the last part of this season and give him car for next year – I think I’d put a bit of money on George winning that championship."

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