The Mercedes pair, who are coming to the end of their second season together, jostled for position on track at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday.
With Hamilton on fresher tyres, he made the move stick – but Russell was irritated that his request for his team-mate to give him DRS to help defend from Carlos Sainz fell on deaf ears.
Hamilton, who has won six of his seven world titles at Mercedes, has been with the Silver Arrows since 2013 and Davidson insists it is no surprise that the 38-year-old still has a higher status in the garage than his compatriot Russell.
“There’s definitely a hierarchy in that team,” Davidson told Sky Sports’ F1 Podcast.
“And rightly so. Lewis has earned that status in that team as a seven-time world champion and George can’t argue against that. George is still the understudy and he’s doing a very good job on those occasions where he’s got the speed over Lewis to really take the fight to him.
“But he’s doing it in such a ‘George Russell polite way’ which is quite humorous to watch because I know inside the car, he’ll be fuming and steaming.
‘And that’s why we see the near misses, the drivers coming almost to blows, almost to contact, but then he’s a good boy on the radio, he’s very British about it.”
Russell beat Hamilton in the championship standings last year while also claiming Mercedes’ only victory in 2022, when he secured his first F1 win at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
However, Hamilton is 75 points clear of Russell this season with six races to go.
“He [Russell] knows he’s got the speed, we all see it as well from the outside,” Davidson added.
“Lewis is getting his elbows out when he needs to. I’m really intrigued by this battle and watching George develop as a driver and watching Lewis in his latter years in his career.”
Mercedes are still searching for their first win in 2023; a goal they will continue to strive for at the next race in Qatar (6-8 October) where Max Verstappen can claim his third-straight drivers’ title.