Russell not thinking about 2022 title bid with Mercedes despite promising pre-season showing
George Russell has joined in Mercedes a team that have achieved a record eight consecutive constructors’ championships, and with Lewis Hamilton achieved a record-equalling seven drivers’ titles – but the ex-Williams racer isn’t thinking about a maiden title just yet.
The Silver Arrows had a solid pre-season showing, going second in the distance charts – 392 laps to Ferrari’s 439 – while on Day 3 Hamilton set the fastest lap of the Barcelona sessions. Russell, who completed 209 laps over three days, was asked if he was eyeing a championship with his new team.
“It’s not even something I’m thinking about, to be honest. I think it’s quite incredible how racing drivers’ minds work, that when you put the helmet on – doesn’t matter if you’re fighting for a win or, for me for the last few years, fighting at the back of the grid – you always get on with the exact same mindset.
“And I had the best example of that in Bahrain when I raced for Mercedes [in 2020]. For me, that was just another race, whether I was out in front or starting on the front row, the approach is the same, the mindset is the same, the work you put into the event, post-event, is exactly the same. So, work on the process and worry about everything afterwards.”
That’s not to say that Mercedes weren’t happy with their own pre-season showing in Spain, with Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin calling it a “very satisfying” three days for the reigning constructors’ champions – while also remaining wary of their competitors.
“We’re pleased with how the week has gone,” said Shovlin, “we planned a very busy programme for the three days and we managed to get through the high priority items, making good progress with the car and power unit.
“It has taken a huge effort from the team in Brackley and Brixworth to bring the W13 to the track so it’s very satisfying for everyone to see it cover 1,800km without significant issues, and to show good promise from a pace point of view.
“We’ve learnt a huge amount over the last few days and still have a lot of data to go through ahead of Bahrain. The rate of progression is going to be very high for all teams and whilst we look to be in a good place here, we need to be mindful that our competitors may have a lot of performance to come between now and the first race.”
Mercedes confirmed that their drivers would now be hitting the team’s simulator to hone the W13 and prepare for the Official Pre-Season Test, with the aim of hitting the ground running in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.