George Russell believes he has a lot more potential to unlock in his second season at Mercedes, despite his impressive start to life with the team in 2022.
Mercedes struggled last season but Russell showed impressive consistency in the first half of the campaign and also secured his first pole position and victory as the year went on. That high point of victory in Brazil also helped Russell beat teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, and the younger of the two British drivers says he has plenty of developing to do.
“I think the great thing with Formula 1 and this sport is that it’s constantly evolving, and it’s a new challenge every single year,” Russell said. “The challenges you face are based with the tires, based with the car, and every year we have new tires, new cars.
“Definitely still room to improve, and I feel that fills me with confidence, because I still felt like I performed at a very high level, even though that I know I’ve got a lot more in my pocket. I think the main one is probably just the tire management — something I thought Lewis was very good at was maximizing the stints and getting the most out of the tires across a stint.
“That year under my belt being teammates with him, seeing some of his traits, has been really, really beneficial for me. So I feel like I was on quite a steep learning curve in that regard, but still, I feel like I’ve got a lot more to come.”
Russell’s results dropped off slightly during a run of midseason races last year, and he says that’s the spell that gives him the best experience to draw upon in 2023.
“To be honest, the things that I learned most from always were those difficult races and the races that I, relatively speaking, failed or underperformed. Looking back on those races, I would say most of the reasons were from trying too hard, and that was a big lesson I learned — that sometimes, the harder you try and the more you push, sometimes the result isn’t better, and you’ve got to be very disciplined with yourself in your approach of knowing how hard to push yourself.
“It’s the same (as) if you went to the gym every single day and were doing maximum bench press every single day; at one point, you’re probably going to injure yourself, and it’s not the most efficient way to get stronger. And that’s representative with racing. If you go out there and drive the thing in anger, pushing it beyond the limit every single lap, that is not the fastest way to drive. Those races were validation for me.”