Top F1 pundit and journalist Peter Windsor has plenty to say on Formula 1. Windsor possesses a wealth of knowledge and insight into the sport. With his extensive background in F1, having managed teams like Williams and Ferrari during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Windsor has been up close and personal with some of the greatest drivers of that era such as Mansell, Prost, Schumacher, and Senna. His vast experience and firsthand observations give him the credibility to make authoritative judgments and statements on both past and present F1.
But that doesn’t mean we, you, I, have to agree with every observation he makes.
In his latest podcast interview, on Youtube, Windsor compares George Russell to the late Ayrton Senna.
Wait, stop right there Peter, the eyebrow is already raised, mate.
Peter Windsor has made an observation regarding the pace advantage of George Russell over Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, which he believes is similar to the dynamic between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost during their time as teammates at McLaren.
This is a noteworthy observation and can be supported by evidence from their performances on the track. However, it’s important to note that there may be other factors at play that could affect the outcome of a race, such as car reliability, tire management, and race strategy. T
Therefore, while Windsor’s observation is valid, it’s important to consider other variables that could impact the race outcome.
But to compare George Russell to Ayrton Senna is like comparing a choir boy to an operatic tenor. Of all the great F1 drivers, Senna stands out as the most unique of them all. During his time in the sport, Senna raised the standards to new almost ethereal levels, he was a dedicated winning machine. At times he was ruthless. But he was Senna.
Russell is a fast driver who is more Mika Hakkenin than Ayrton Senna, very quick, rarely makes mistakes, has great race craft, is a team player, ruthless when he needs to be. Russell has all the ingredients to win world championships. But every driver is beatable, Senna was beatable so was Schumacher, Alonso, and so is Hamilton.
But don’t take my word for what it’s worth, here’s what Peter Windsor said during his podcast interview:
“I think George is better than Lewis a little bit in the way that Senna was better than Prost in qualifying sometimes. Just incredibly fine, not judgment, but just taking it a little bit further.”
“If Lewis is leaving three centimeters, George will leave one-and-a-half on a qualifying lap – and sometimes it’ll result in an error as it did obviously in qualifying for the sprint race in Baku.”
“I think it’s just that. I think that’s the way George has always driven. He’s absolutely no margin at all and sometimes it gets the better of him.”
“I don’t think he’s (Russell) got any weakness compared with Bottas. Nothing against Valtteri but I don’t see one area where he was better than Lewis.”
“And I think that’s where possibly you could argue he has [an edge] over Lewis, but you could say that’s the quality of Lewis that he doesn’t put himself in that position and he’s more on top of the car and very rarely does he make the sort of mistakes that George does when he’s right on the edge.”
“The sort of mistakes Lewis makes are standard mistakes like getting the tyre warm up wrong or traffic, not pacing the traffic correctly, or maybe making a judgement call on setup and the tyre pressure doesn’t go the way they think it’s going to go – things like that. But then George makes the same mistakes like that.”
“I would say that it’s only that and I still think Lewis has got a wider palette of operational factors that he can play with than George in terms of his natural ability and what he can do with the car over a period of time.”