What Hamilton will think about Russell at Mercedes after Dutch GP fury

Lewis Hamilton reveals the Queen told him off at the Royal lunch

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Lewis Hamilton’s positive opinion of George Russell will not have been affected by the drama that unfolded during the closing stages of last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, according to ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok. The 37-year-old was unable to prevent Max Verstappen from taking the lead and winning the race at Zandvoort after Mercedes opted to pit second-placed Russell under the safety car, leaving his Silver Arrows team-mate as a sitting duck when the green flags were waved once again.

Hamilton went on to react angrily over his team radio and appeared to blank Russell as he walked straight past the 24-year-old before the podium celebrations began in the immediate aftermath of the race. Chandhok is adamant that there will be no internal tensions bubbling under the surface at Mercedes, though, as a result of the strong dynamic between their two drivers.

“I think he almost sees George as an understudy,” Chandhok exclusively told Express Sport when quizzed on Hamilton’s working relationship with Russell.

“They’re at very different stages of their lives and their careers. Lewis is obviously very comfortable and very secure in his position as he should be, with all the success that he’s got.

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“I think he recognises that the future in the long-term at Mercedes is with George, which is fine, they’re in a very healthy position. What we haven’t seen is when they’re in a championship battle.

“If they’re in the thick of a title battle, does it all get a bit more tense and stressful? So far we haven’t seen that. At the moment I think it’s all going quite calmly.”

It remains to be seen whether Hamilton will be able to recover from his latest setback at the Dutch Grand Prix by claiming a welcome haul of points at this weekend’s race in Italy, although it could be a difficult task for the seven-time champion around the fast-paced Monza circuit. He is likely to be forced to start from the very back of the grid after taking a new power unit ahead of Friday’s practice sessions, while Mercedes have struggled to impress on high-speed tracks in comparison to their rivals so far this season.

Chandhok, meanwhile, was speaking to Express Sport after hosting the BonusFinder World Gas Pumping Championships in London and presenting the winner with a title belt, prize money and a replenished tank of petrol.

“It was one of the most amusing and left-field days I’ve had, if I’m honest,” said Chandhok. “It was just a really fun day for people to come out and win a bit of prize money.

“The people participating got well into it. It’s a bit of a random thing to do on a Wednesday but they all got really competitive and quite serious!”

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