The Battle of Britain has already begun ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix after Lando Norris hit out at compatriot George Russell for losing his fun side.
Russell and Norris have been racing against each other for many years, having come through the juniors formulas together. They moved into F1 at the same time, earning their rookie drives during the 2019 season.
Both men have garnered a reputation for not only being prodigious talents, but also being a lot of fun off the grid. However, Norris believes his fellow Brit has lost some of that sheen following his move to Mercedes.
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"My manager, my trainer, my parents, have always tried to keep me as me, rather than try to shape me," Norris told the Independent.
"I see other drivers get shaped more because of who they are with, the teams they are with, and I don't think that is a good thing. It takes away their personality.
"Growing up with George for instance, was a lot of fun. He was a great person, but it is different at Mercedes – a different vibe and a different atmosphere. I just don't see as fun a side of him."
Norris admitted he still has great affection for Russell, who is fourth in the drivers' standings, but believes some of his old personality has been lost as he has risen through the ranks in F1.
"George is a great person, and I feel like the personality he had a few years ago, he would be even more popular," he added. "I don't think it is Mercedes' fault but the pressure of being with Mercedes, and having Lewis as a team-mate, is never going to be an easy thing."
Do you think George Russell is less fun than he used to be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Mercedes ace Russell and McLaren favourite Norris will settle their differences on the track this weekend when the British Grand Prix returns to Silverstone. Around 400,000 people are expected to pack into the Northamptonshire circuit across the four days, most of whom will be crossing their fingers for a homegrown victory.
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