‘It’s been the best season of my career’ – Russell insists Mercedes have ‘a lot of positives’ to take from 2022
George Russell chose to focus on the positive moments when reviewing his first season as a Mercedes F1 driver, reminding fans that success is “all relative” after the team failed to win a title for the first time since 2013.
While Mercedes fell behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the pecking order under F1’s new technical regulations, the initially troubled W13 still yielded a step up the grid for Russell, who spent three years with Williams before his promotion to the Silver Arrows.
Over the course of the year, and as Mercedes worked through their problems, Russell racked up seven podium finishes with his new team, before leading home team mate Lewis Hamilton for a breakthrough maiden victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Asked how tough his first season at Mercedes had been, Russell gave a philosophical response.
“I mean, it’s all relative at the end of the day," he said. "This season has still been the best season of my career. [We’ve had a lot of] podiums and I think we’ve had a lot of very good races.
“I think you’ve got to take the positives from… I’m not going to call this a difficult situation, but from a performance side we’re not where we want to be. But you can’t just sit there, sulk and be upset with everything.”
Russell went on to highlight Mercedes’ impressive reliability record throughout the year, with Hamilton’s retirement from the Abu Dhabi finale their one and only mechanical DNF – as the team now look to combine that strength with more performance next season.
“As a team we’ve done a really great job. They’ve done a really great job with reliability, from the [power unit] side, from the car side. There’s a lot of positives to take away from this season. Obviously the one we’re missing, the main one, was just a little bit more lap time,” added Russell.
Russell ended the season fourth in the drivers’ standings, 35 points ahead of Hamilton, becoming only the third driver – after Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg – to out-score the seven-time world champion as a team mate in F1, while Mercedes placed third in the constructors’ battle.