For those who were watching the two Mercedes’ duke it out at the Japanese Grand Prix and hoped that it could turn into a version of Rosberg vs Hamilton, you will be disappointed. While George Russell and Lewis Hamilton did clash, the latter has claimed “all that matters” is beating Ferrari in the Championship, not their Drivers’ position.
During the early stages of the race, Russell launched a move on Hamilton into the final chicane, though Hamilton was able to fight back at Turn 1 to stay ahead. Once again, the pair went at it in the later stages of the race at the second of the Degner corners, where Hamilton got his elbows out, prompting a radio message from Russell.
“Who do we want to fight here? Each other or the others?” Russell said over the radio.
Hamilton does have an answer for his teammate – they are working together to secure P2 in the Constructors’ against Ferrari, who are quickly closing the gap.
“Well, for sure we’ll talk offline,” Hamilton told the media. “That’s the best way to do it.
“Our ultimate goal is to try and get ahead of the Ferraris and that’s what my goal was today.
“And it’s to beat the Ferraris in a Constructors’ Championship. That’s all that matters. We’re not fighting for drivers’ position in the championship because firstly, we’re not close, and secondly, we’re not fighting for the championship.
“So now it’s about getting the maximum points for the team. I think that’s what we did today.”
That “maximum” was P5 for Hamilton, moving up two positions, while Russell clung to P7. Despite that, the buffer between Mercedes and Ferrari has been reduced to just 20 points.