Mercedes in No State of Showing Favoritism for George Russell With Lewis Hamilton Leaving, says Marc Priestley

EXCLUSIVE: Mercedes in No State of Showing Favoritism for George Russell With Lewis Hamilton Leaving, says Marc Priestley
IMAGO / Motorsport Images

Following the announcement of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025, a similar question arose in everyone’s mind. Most fans thought that the news would mean Mercedes would shift focus to George Russell and favor him over Hamilton throughout 2024. Speaking exclusively to The SportsRush’s Tanish Chachra, former F1 mechanic Marc Priestley dismissed these concerns.

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Priestley claimed that the situation of favoritism shall not arise in Mercedes, given they aren’t in a state of winning. Priestley explained that intra-team battles and favoritism arise only when a team is fighting for the championship. In Mercedes’ case, they are nowhere near the front of the field, and that makes it easier for them to manage their drivers.

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“I think the reality is that Mercedes probably won’t be in a position to challenge for the world title this year. And that, sort of, makes things easier. The real tensions come in when you’re really battling for that big prize.”

Apart from the non-competitiveness of Mercedes, Priestly pointed out another thing that will prevent favoritism in Russell’s favor. And that is the relationship between Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton. They have worked together for over a decade and share a great friendship. Given the same, there shouldn’t be an issue of favoritism within Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton might have had the upper hand if Mercedes were competitive

Adding to his statement, Priestley said that if Mercedes was in a position to challenge for the title, Hamilton would do everything in his power to win. It would also be a great storyline for Mercedes. They are the team that helped Hamilton win six of his seven world titles. Had there been the possibility of another world championship, Hamilton would be leaving Mercedes as an eight-time world champion – the most number of championships anyone has ever won in F1 history. However, given their current performances, Priestley believes there is little chance for a turnaround.

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Even if Mercedes were competitive, Priestley is certain there would be no favoritism at play in Mercedes. He claimed they are a team that does not believe in the philosophy. For Mercedes, all their drivers are equal, and they get equal opportunities to bring the best result for the team. Even in the case of Hamilton vs Wolff & Mercedes, Priestley asserts that the relationship hasn’t turned sour. They are all professional and continue to work together in harmony, irrespective of what the future holds.

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