Hamilton has suffered a miserable start to the season and could only muster a 10th-place finish in Saudi Arabia and a 13th-place finish in Imola. And he’s fallen to seventh in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Russell, meanwhile, is yet to finish outside the top five in any of this season’s races and currently occupies fourth place in the overall standings. And in Imola last time out, the former Williams driver produced a much better performance than Hamilton as he ended the race nine places ahead of the veteran.
Russell is certainly getting the better of his team-mate at the moment. And Verstappen has had his say. “George probably had a good start [in Imola] and a good clean first lap – and that helps,” the Dutchman said. “But I’d say [Hamilton’s] car had quite a bit more pace than the midfield traffic.
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Verstappen has suffered his own problems in Red Bull’s new car this season and failed to finish the Bahrain Grand Prix due to power issues, before retiring from the Australian Grand Prix when a fuel issue caused a fire in his car. But he produced a mesmerising display in Imola as he qualified on pole, won the Sprint event, claimed race victory and recorded the fastest lap.
And the 24-year-old will be hoping to topple Drivers’ Championship leader Charles Leclerc in the coming weeks after cutting the Monegasque’s lead to 27 points.