Lewis Hamilton sends a message to doubters with a cheeky message from George Russell

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are aiming to bounce back from a disappointing start to the 2022 F1 season with Mercedes at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend

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What’s wrong with Mercedes and can they get over it?

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell stand together as Mercedes battle to overcome their difficult start to the season.

The two British drivers are in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Grand Prix this Sunday, the first time the venue has staged an F1 race since 2019 due to the effects of Covid-19. And the Silver Arrows desperately need a good performance after their struggles in the Middle East.

Hamilton and Russell took advantage of Red Bull’s late problems to finish third and fourth respectively in Bahrain, but there was a shock in Saudi Arabia a week later when the seven-time world champion left qualifying in Q1. He eventually finished 10th in the race, with Russell fifth.

It remains to be seen whether the defending constructors’ champions can resolve their issues with their W13 cars by this weekend. Either way, the huge gaps in pace between them and Ferrari and Red Bull are unlikely to have so far narrowed to the point where Toto Wolff’s side are battling it out to win Down Under.

Wolff himself has called the performance so far “completely unacceptable” with the team clearly struggling to master this new era of F1. New regulations entered the sport, which meant that major adaptations had to be made to all cars.

When Russell, 24, joined Williams at the end of last season, many F1 pundits were considering problems between him and Hamilton, 37. The youngster has made it clear that he is not joining Mercedes just to be the number two driver.

Hamilton and Russell hit the gym in Melbourne

He replaced Valtteri Bottas, who had partnered with Hamilton for five seasons following the sudden departure of Nico Rosberg. Despite linking Hamilton with a constructors’ victory in each of those campaigns, the Finn never managed to put on a serious title challenge himself.

But there have been few signs of the needle so far, and judging by Hamilton’s latest Instagram post, the pair are very united in their quest to turn things around.

He uploaded a photo to his 27.5 million followers of the two in the gym, as they shared a gym session on Wednesday morning. Hamilton is seen smiling next to a weight bench, with Russell lifting a kettle bell in the background.

Hamilton captioned the photo: ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ and tagged his teammate. Russell’s sequel is a bit smaller, of course, at 3.1 million.

Practice for the Australian Grand Prix, which Hamilton has not won since 2015, begins on Friday. It’s the same venue where the F1 icon made his McLaren debut in 2007.

He has just 16 points, 29 over current leader Leclerc. Russell is six points clear of 22.

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