George Russell is getting closer than ever to taking on the top Formula 1 drivers, giving him a front-row seat to the title race between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Sunday’s French Grand Prix changed the course of the Formula one title chase after Charles Leclerc’s crashed out, allowing Max Verstappen to widen his lead at the top.
The former was forced to step down as leader for the third time so far this season. A sign of how different the title fight would have been if it weren’t for those malfunctions.
George Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton finished third and second, respectively at the Paul Ricard Circuit, marking the first double podium for the silver arrows this season.
The Mercedes newcomer is only slightly younger than Verstappen and Leclerc and he’s relishing the intense competitiveness between the title rivals.
Having risen to formula one together along with McLaren’s Lando Norris and William’s Alexander Albon; he still finds it unreal that they are all on the grid together.
“I guess, going back to when we were racing each other in go-karting, that’s exactly the same. We were all pushing each other.” The Briton said.
Russell told BBC Sport he’s “enjoyed seeing the dynamic” between Verstappen and Leclerc develop this season as the two former karting rivals reach the top of their game.
They may be battling in 2022, but Verstappen and Leclerc’s karting ‘inchident’ still a hot topic 😅
Max: “What happened in go karting, you can laugh about it now! Good times.”
George: “Charles isn’t laughing!”
— Autosport (@autosport) April 22, 2022
He believes Leclerc is “an extraordinary driver” and was certain that the Monegasque will bounce back from his mistake in France.
As for Red Bull ace Verstappen, Russell seemed much more forthright in his praise for the reigning champion; adding “There is no doubt that Max is incredibly solid and doing an exceptional job and he’s raising the bar.”
The ambitious young racer is unsatisfied even after outscoring and outshining Hamilton at times
George Russell is pleased with his performances so far with Mercedes but is still looking forward to proving himself against Lewis Hamilton.
This season, the young Brit was given the unenviable task of going up against the seven-time world champion. It’s something that many former teammates have attempted and failed to do, including his predecessor Valtteri Bottas.
The Norfolk-born racer has successfully delivered more consistent results as compared to his teammate. Even more impressive is the fact that he has managed to accomplish this during a difficult time for the team.
Russell may have expected to fight for race wins right away with his new car but the Silver Arrows have not been as competitive as they had been over the previous eight seasons.
“Going up against the greatest driver of all time, where do you set your expectations?” he told BBC Sport.
“It’s by no means been a bad start to the season; but I would still like to raise my game a little bit. If I’m performing against the very best in sport; and I want to be the very best, I need to be at the top of my game every single week.”
“I need to keep on improving. I need to look at my teammate and see if he’s consistently doing something better. And there are certain little things that he is probably consistently better at than I am; for the time being, that I want to improve on.”
Let’s keep pushing 👊 pic.twitter.com/o6qEuEdDlL
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 27, 2022