“It’s ruthless”- George Russell got to know about the brutal side of Formula 1 while serving Mercedes, which eventually shaped his present.
George Russell is among the most talented drivers in Formula 1 and has been backed by Mercedes in recent years. With his recent exhibits with Williams and Mercedes (Sakhir GP), he is touted to be the reigning F1 champions’ future.
Though Russell had admitted that nothing in F1 remains permanent, and this lesson he learnt with Mercedes when he was a reserve driver for the side.
“There are a few sides to that,” said Russell during an interview with Autocar. “There’s me inherently. The days I spent with Mercedes as their reserve driver meant I learned there was a lot more to being a complete F1 driver than just jumping in the car and driving as fast as you can.”
“That opportunity, being surrounded by them, made me recognise how I needed to improve from a technical and marketing perspective, to try to be a complete person and driver.
“F1 is like no other. It’s ruthless, and you have to excel in all areas, or you’ll be chewed up and spat out. I recognised that early and I’ve been working ever since to become better and better.”
The pressure to justify expectations?
Russell was then asked has he ever felt the pressure to justify his hype and expectations from Mercedes. The Briton replied that during his GP3 days, he indeed felt it, but changed the mentality soon after.
“Arguably, when I was a bit younger, maybe my early races in GP3. Probably during 2017, there was a point when my mentality shifted. I told myself ‘I’m here for a reason and they haven’t picked me up for the sake of it.” said Russell.
“Mercedes don’t sign 15-20 young drivers every year. At the time, I was one of three. I knew I had to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability.
“I’ve always had the most amount of pressure from myself. I know what I want to achieve, and I only saw being affiliated with Mercedes as a positive. Maybe I enjoyed that extra pressure that I knew all eyes were on me, even back then.”