Russell’s redemption: Can he outshine Hamilton yet again?

The tale of George Russell’s 2023 is a study of resilience and hope amidst adversity. Despite the underwhelming results and the shadow cast by a return to form for his illustrious Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, Russell remains steadfast in his assessment of his own performance.

Russell, 25, candidly reflected on his season, telling France’s Auto Hebdo in Las Vegas, “It was a pretty terrible year in terms of results.” The admission starkly contrasts with his hopes at the the end of 2022, when he finally opened his grand prix victory account. However, he doesn’t dwell on the negatives, but rather a pivotal moment that could have altered his trajectory: “I don’t want to rewrite history but with what happened in Melbourne, where we probably should have won that race, it put me in a cycle of bad outcomes.”

Russell’s retrospection doesn’t end there. He acknowledges a stark reversal of fortunes from the previous year, saying, “It was the opposite last year, where each good result led to another.”

Despite his struggles, Russell believes he has grown as a driver. “There are obviously aspects in which I still need to improve, but I have to say that I feel a better driver than last year, even if the results don’t show it,” he asserts. Indeed, team boss Toto Wolff described Brazil last time out as his personal “worst weekend in 13 years.” Yet, Russell remains optimistic about the future, drawing strength from the team’s proactive attitude behind the scenes: “What gives me a lot of motivation is that we’re not sitting there, helpless, telling ourselves that we’re light years away from them.”

As Russell looks ahead, his determination is clear. “We’re not going to set our expectations too high, but we’re reasonably optimistic that we can resolve a lot of our problems next year.”

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