Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has come to the defense of his driver George Russell, addressing concerns about Russell’s performance in the past season. In 2022, Russell, in his inaugural season alongside F1 legend Lewis Hamilton, showed impressive form, often matching the prowess of his experienced teammate. However, Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 boss, cast a shadow on Russell’s achievements with a critical remark after the 2023 season, saying: “Lewis Hamilton slacked off a bit, and George Russell wasn’t as good as he thought he was.”
Wolff, however, disagrees with this assessment. Despite Russell himself acknowledging that the past year had been “one of the worst seasons of my career,” Wolff maintains a positive outlook on the young driver’s performance. He shared his thoughts with La Gazzetta dello Sport, asserting, “When you do well and expectations get high, life gets complicated. But I don’t see any pressure on him.”
Highlighting Russell’s strengths, Wolff continued, “George is a young, strong driver, racing on a team with the best driver and challenging him, trying to beat him while he learns.” Wolff’s confidence in Russell is unwavering, as he believes the young driver has lived up to the team’s expectations. “But he has met all our expectations. When I think of his age and talent, he is someone I would always want on one of my teams,” Wolff added, underscoring his commitment to Russell’s future at Mercedes.