Russell felt “almost like a rookie” in 2022

After three years at the back of the grid with the Williams team, George Russell suffered a real shock last year when he joined the 8-time world champions Mercedes. Shielded from the mark to stardom since 2017, Russell hasn’t discovered Brackley’s build, but for the first time he’s truly immersed in it. He also went from his middling teammate, Nicolas Latifi, to Lewis Hamilton, the most successful driver in history. Despite a strong start to the season with nine top-5 finishes in a row at the start of the season, the Brit claims he needs time to adapt.

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“In a way, I feel almost like a newbie this season because of the level of this team: we’re talking about things in Formula 1 that I’ve never talked about before.”Russell made the announcement late last year, including in a group interview with several media outlets “During the race weekend, it took me a while to understand what the team’s processes were, how to make the car faster in terms of configuration, and that’s why I felt a bit like a teenager at the beginning of this season.”

“Of course it’s an absolutely brilliant situation to be a teammate of Lewis because he’s the greatest driver ever and I’ve learned a lot from him…especially off the track, to be honest, the way he deals with the athlete, the engineers and the way he runs things. At the same time, there are small details on the track that amaze me. But if you want to be a Formula 1 World Champion, you have to beat the best and you have to beat everyone. I’m in a hell of a position, with Lewis as the main indicator!”

George Russell (Mercedes)

Russell explains his mistakes

Despite his consistency at the front and victory in Sao Paulo – Mercedes’ only win of 2022 – Russell has been singled out for several driving mistakes, particularly late in the season. So we regretted the contact as well as the collisions with Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher during the difficult Singapore Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz Not to mention the moment he put all four tires out of bounds at the start of the race in Mexico City, costing him pole position.

“I think ultimately it’s a matter of experience.” The British philosopher commented. “I know in this sport you have to let things flow. You want to drive the car aggressively, but it’s not always the fastest. Like I said, it’s a matter of ‘practice’.”

“I’ve always known more or less that there is more performance when you drive at 99% than at 101%. At 101%, we’ve crossed the limit and the peak of performance. If we drive at 99%, there’s definitely a hundredth of a second left. If you drive at 101%, the car you lose or crash. you want to drive 100% and sometimes you get 101%. This is also an experience.”

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“In Mexico I knew I made a small mistake on the lap where I took pole, so I pushed harder to make up for the time I lost. It was inevitable to spoil that lap because I was already going too fast. It’s possible. In Austin, I don’t necessarily think I pushed too hard, I think it was , it was just bad luck, a bit of a misjudgment. I went into the corner at the end, I expected Carlos to take an outside shot, but he took a path. It went past mine and at that point it was too late.”

“But I’m still trying to push the limit and in some ways I’m almost like a newbie back: It’s the first time I’m racing at the front. It’s not like before. You’re running at the back. There’s a couple of cars ahead compared to the harmonic effect of 15 cars in front of you. When you’re in the first corner, the approach is completely different. When you’re behind 15 cars, there’s a lot more dirt. When you’re behind three cars. I’ve spent three years racing at the back, and I’ve only got 20 races to race at the front. That’s how I learned what it’s like. , I tame the little quirks of it too. stay behind.”

Interview by Alex Kalinauckas

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