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Brits in F1: Points at Suzuka for Hamilton, Russell and Norris

26 Sep | news | BY George Fotev | MIN READ TIME |
Brits in F1: Points at Suzuka for Hamilton, Russell and Norris

We will be keeping you up to date with the progress of all three British drivers in the F1 World Championship throughout this season.

Britain has three participants in the 2023 F1 World Championship, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell representing Mercedes and Lando Norris in one of the two seats at McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton

LATEST: After a slow start to the season, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has made the most of the major upgrades Mercedes have been making to the W14 from Monaco onwards. Despite snatching a podium on the final lap in Singapore, Lewis and Mercedes’ frustrating lack of pace re-emerged in Japan leaving him unable to catch Leclerc or the McLarens for a chance of the podium this time round.

Since Monte Carlo, Hamilton has recorded podium finishes in Spain, Canada and Great Britain, while he achieved his first pole position since Saudi Arabia in 2021 in Hungary.

He couldn’t convert pole into victory at the Hungaroring, coming home fourth at one of his favourite tracks. He finished in the same position in Belgium, the final race before the summer break, but had the feather in his cap of nabbing the extra point for the fastest lap.

However, it wasn’t all positive for Hamilton in Belgium, with the latest upgrade bringing about the return of the dreaded porpoising, or bouncing, a problem which plagued the Silver Arrows last season.

An improvement in the car’s performance was seen at Zandvoort. However it was the Mercedes strategists turn to deal Lewis a bad hand, as the timing of their pitstops in the wet weather saw him finish sixth in a race they were eyeing up a podium beforehand.

Mercedes will be left feeling slightly exasperated following the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, as not only the Red Bull left them in the dust, but the Ferrari did too. Hamilton came home in sixth place, behind the four drivers of those teams, and his own teammate Russell. He will likely be wondering how the Tifosi managed to gain such an advantage over them despite a very poor season so far.

Lewis snatched a podium on the final lap of the Singapore Grand Prix, albeit at the expense of his teammate George Russell, who put his car into a wall while chasing down the Ferraris. The display showed that Mercedes do have it in their locker to turn up and compete, and will leave plenty of positives for the Briton to build on.

Tensions between the Mercedes drivers reached their highest point of the season during this weekend’s trip to Suzuka, with Hamilton getting the better of Russell by the chequered flag.

Carrying more pace in the final stint, Mercedes called on their drivers to invert positions during the latter stages in order to protect Hamilton from Sainz behind and carry on their fight with Ferrari in the constructors championship.

Hamilton’s recent strong haul of points has seen him extend his lead over old foe Fernando Alonso in the Drivers Championship, now sitting 16 points above him in third place. He has also started closing the gap to Sergio Perez in second place with the deficit now only 33 points.

To Win Without Max Verstappen odds – 6/1

George Russell

LATEST: George Russell has struggled to get as much out of his Mercedes as his colleague Hamilton, with his third-place finish in Spain still his only podium of the season.

He looked to be getting the better of his fellow Briton during the Japanese Grand Prix, until a lack of pace in the final stint forced Mercedes to make the strategy call for Russell to let Lewis through nearing the end of the race. After a few choice words over the radio his race ended in a disappointing P7 in Suzuka.

Russell secured Mercedes’ only win in the last 19 months in Brazil last year, but hasn’t looked anywhere near as competitive this year and has finished behind Hamilton in nine of the first 12 races.

The 25-year-old made a bad mistake when running wide in Canada and hit the wall, resulting in his second DNF of the season following his power unit failure in Australia.

Russell hasn’t always had the rub of the green, with a strategy error in Hungary seeing him qualify in 18th.

He would produce a strong drive at the Hungaroring to claim sixth and would finish in the same position in Belgium, albeit after a much tougher weekend.

Zandvoort was eyed as a potential podium for Russell after a strong qualifying performance. Yet, as with Lewis, the team planned poorly for the rain. That, followed by a puncture late in the race saw George limp home as the last of the finishers in 17th place.

Monza provided Russell some respite from strategy issues and an underperforming car, as he brought his Silver Arrow home in 5th. The team could do with figuring out how Ferrari leapfrogged them following Zandvoort however, as if they can, they should start to see more podiums.

Singapore had plenty of positives for both Russell and Mercedes, they look to have found some speed and were on for a possible double podium, it all ended in disaster however when Russell lost control of his car and collided head on with a wall on the final lap.

Japan quelled some of the positives brought from Singapore, with Russell and Mercedes always seeming not quite on pace with their “best of the rest” rivals all weekend. Followed by some dicey battles and team orders with teammate Hamilton, Russell will likely be leaving Japan with a sour taste in his mouth with this weekends showing from the Briton leaving much to be desired.

Russell had a tricky start to the season, and the return from the summer break has been a bit hit and miss for the team. He has seen Carlos Sainz leapfrog him in the Drivers Championship standings, adrift of the Spaniard by 35 points and 20 behind the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The Norfolk native now sits eighth in the Driver’s Championship standings, with Lando Norris’ back to back second place finishes leaving them equal on points, with the McLaren driver taking precedent in the standings due to having a better finishing position this season.

To Win Without Max Verstappen odds – 250/1

Lando Norris

LATEST: Having finished four of the first seven races in 17th, Lando Norris has reaped the rewards of three rounds of upgrades by the McLaren team, the most major coming during the summer break.

After some clever race management in tandem with Sainz to bring home second in Singapore, Norris made it back-to-back P2’s for the Woking outfit in Japan, where he got the jump on teammate Piastri on the race start and never looked in trouble to fall out of the podium.

Since Austria, Norris has been a podium contender in the majority of races, with the MCL60 proving competitive on all types of circuits following changes made by the team.

The 23-year-old took fourth in Austria, before back-to-back runner-up finishes in the British and Hungarian Grands Prix.

Norris’ performance in his home race was particularly impressive as he narrowly missed out on pole, before leading the race after passing Max Verstappen at the start and then chasing home the all-conquering Red Bull driver.

His seventh place in Belgium was a bit of a comedown in a race McLaren described as a ‘reality check’, but it was still a decent performance by Norris as he recovered from a bad start to climb back into the points.

Another seventh placed finish in the Netherlands possibly shows that McLaren need to find a little bit more to keep up with the top teams, however Lando can probably take some solace from the fact that the team struggled to adjust to the rain that came during the race. If they can iron out any strategy errors, Norris will have his eyes on a few more podiums this season for sure.

An eighth placed finish at Monza means the dust has probably settled around McLaren’s marked improvement pre-summer break. However, considering how the Papaya team started the season, Norris won’t be too unhappy with fighting for points around 5th or 6th place as was the case in Italy.

Just when you thought that the momentum surrounding McLaren and Lando Norris had come to a halt, the Brit stormed to a second placed finish in Singapore, less than a second behind winner Carlos Sainz.

McLaren’s strong second half of the season continued in Japan, with the Papaya cars qualifying 2nd and 3rd, Norris the latter. Lando managed to get blistering traction on the race start, jumping his teammate and giving Verstappen a run for his money in the first few corners. His pace was apparent all weekend and it stayed true during the race. Taking home a 2nd P2 finish in as many weeks.

After his back-to-back podiums in Singapore and Japan, Norris has managed to equal fellow Briton George Russell’s points total of 115, with the McLaren driver claiming 7th place in the Drivers Standings on countback due to his higher finishing positions.

To Win Without Max Verstappen odds – 250/1

All odds correct at the time of publishing and subject to change.

George Fotev

George Fotev

Sports writer who is responsible for the Sportal's cricket, rugby, tennis and UFC betting content, as well as football betting tips.

George Fotev

George Fotev

Sports writer who is responsible for the Sportal's cricket, rugby, tennis and UFC betting content, as well as football betting tips.