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George Russell Is Literally the Stuff of Nightmares: “The Thorn In My Side”

Mahim Suhalka

George Russell Is Literally the Stuff of Nightmares: "The Thorn In My Side"

Formula 1 gives birth to complex off-track relationships, despite drivers and teams competing in a cutthroat manner. Most drivers on the grid view others as their rivals. However, more often now once the helmet comes off, the discord wears off. Former F1 strategist proved that with an honest admission of her relationship with George Russell.

Ruth Buscombe revealed on The Fast and Curious podcast how the Brit was the bane of her existence. However, this rivalry with the then-Williams man translated into friendship.

She revealed, “I dreamt about George Russell more times than I care to remember because he was at Williams, and all I would think about every night before the race was George blooming Russell. He was always the nightmare and thorn in my side. And we actually became friends because of the fact that every week, it was just us racing each other.” 

Buscombe substantiated her opinion with the example of Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly. She revealed how the two friends fought tooth and nail for a place in the championship in 2018 for their respective teams.

The former Ferrari strategist highlighted how the drivers can separate their lives on and off the track. This differentiation in life away from F1 helps them create these interpersonal relationships. It also showcases the sportsmanlike behavior of the F1 drivers.

So, back when Russell was at Williams, the then-Sauber strategist could only think about beating the Brit and vice versa. This eventually brought the two competitors closer and turned them into friends.

Ruth Buscombe compares the F1 strategizing with high-speed chess

The follow-up question to the British strategist’s reply was if trying to get into a rival’s head is common practice. Buscombe revealed teams engaged in a battle with a particular driver consider everything – their rival’s strengths, weaknesses, previous behavior in a particular scenario, etc. The newly turned TV presenter compared it to a game of high-speed chess or poker.

“So it’s kind of like high-speed chess, right? So you have specific moves, but you’re also trying to beat an individual player playing chess or you’re playing poker against somebody. There is a mathematically correct way of doing it.”

“But If you’re particularly good at one part of it, I’ll try and avoid doing that. Or if you’re really bad at one element of it, I’ll try and do that part,” she explained. 

This is precisely where being friends and knowing one’s competition at a personal level becomes advantageous. At least, this is Buscombe’s understanding, having served as a strategist at Sauber, Haas, and Ferrari.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka is an F1 journalist at the SportsRush. With an ever-growing love for the sport since 2019, he became a part of the industry two years ago and since then has written over 2200 pieces. A Lewis Hamilton fan through and through and with Hamilton's loyalties shifting to Ferrari, so will his. Apart from F1, he is a Football fanatic having played the sport and represented his state in various tournaments as he still stays in touch with the sport. Always a sports enthusiast Mahim is now translating his passion into words.

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