Formula 1: George Russell confident Mercedes will be stronger in 2023

Mercedes driver George Russell expects the Silver Arrows to be in a stronger position in 2023 Formula 1 season
Mercedes driver George Russell optimistic about 2023 Formula 1 season
Mercedes driver George Russell optimistic about 2023 Formula 1 season

(Motorsport) George Russell won Mercedes’ only race of the 2022 Formula 1 season at the penultimate Sao Paulo Grand Prix. The 24 year old finished fourth in the Drivers Standings behind Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez but two places and 35 points ahead of teammate and seven time World Champion Lewis Hamilton. He joined the Silver Arrows in the 2022 season from Williams, replacing the reliable Valtteri Bottas and achieved seven podium finishes in what was a disappointing season for Mercedes.

“They haven’t forgotten how to build a fast race car,” said Russell. “We just got it wrong this year. We got the philosophy wrong. We went down a route which turned out to be the wrong route. Sometimes it takes you a long time to dig yourself out of that hole. Now I feel we’ve dug ourselves out of that hole and we’re building on top of that. We are a step behind Red Bull and Ferrari and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do – but we’re definitely going to be in a much stronger position from race one next year than we were this year.

“When you join a team like Mercedes you’re expecting victories. I felt ready to fight for race wins and championships this year but you’ve just got to manage your expectations. You’ve got to change those sights slightly and it’s been really intriguing for me this year, seeing how the team deals with this situation. I’m here for the long haul and even though I wanted victories and [to be] fighting for that championship in 2022, as a team these struggles are going to set us up for the coming years. I hope I look back in 10 years’ time and say the 2022 season was a positive one in the journey.

“If you’d told me at the start of the year that I’d be finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton [in the drivers’ standings], I’d have been very happy because nine times out of 10 that probably means you’re going to be world champion. It’s a little bit frustrating that this year wasn’t that year. We were both fighting for P4, P5, P6 and we don’t want to be in this position, so I’m not going to walk away from this season with huge amounts of pride because I finished fourth in the championship.

“I’m here to win. It takes some time whenever you join a new team, regardless of who your team-mate is, to embed yourself and gain that trust and confidence within the whole organisation. It’s been a good journey for me, being team-mates with him. He’s the greatest of all time so I’m in a very privileged position to go up directly alongside him but also learn from him. I’m really excited for 2023. I’m still going to be trying to improve my driving, what I do on and off track, and hopefully we’ve got the car beneath us to fight for the championship.”

Also read: Mick Schumacher joins Mercedes as a reserve driver for 2023


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