Russell assesses 'a season of two halves' as he eyes a return to victory in the second half of the year
Mercedes driver George Russell has given a frank assessment of the first half of the 2023 campaign from both a personal and team perspective, before setting his sights on a race win upon the season’s resumption.
Russell currently sits sixth in the drivers' standings on 99 points, having finished on the podium just once this season. When compared to this point in 2022, the Briton had made five trips to the rostrum and was fourth in the championship with 158 points.
This can be attributed to misfortune, in the form of an engine blowout in Melbourne, as well as mistakes in Monaco and Montreal that cost him potential podiums. As well as that, Russell explained how a set-up direction has cost him performance of late.
Asked after the Belgian GP, where he finished sixth, how he would reflect on his start to the season, Russell answered: “Season of two halves. First six races I was super happy with my own personal performance, I was really strong.
“Definitely some missed opportunities. Just from the failure in Melbourne and Monaco, the small mistake, could’ve been a podium. And Silverstone, the Safety Car, just little things went against me.
“Then it swung around recently, struggling with the car. We’ve got some ideas why that is. We pursued a set-up direction, and this weekend validated it was the wrong way.
“That leaves me with a bit of confidence that we can turn it around in the second half of the year. But, like I said, eyes on Red Bull, we want to win a race this year, and we are still pushing like hell to achieve that.”
Also reflecting on Mercedes’ first half of the season was Team Principal Toto Wolff, and despite failing to register a victory so far this year, the Silver Arrows boss is confident they are heading in the right direction.
“Going into the summer break, I feel that we are on the right trajectory overall,” said Wolff. “There is so much hard work going across the team to upgrade the car and help us to make those important steps forward.
“I believe we are making progress and the direction we are going in is the right one. We will go away, recharge over the summer break, and come back refreshed and re-energised."