News

Russell reveals where he ‘upped his game’ in 2023 while he searches for answers in winter break

Share
russell-2023-portrait-1.png

George Russell has admitted that there are plenty of questions to be answered during the winter break after his “very, very strange” 2023 season ended with a significant points margin between himself and team mate Lewis Hamilton in the standings.

While the Mercedes drivers could not be separated in qualifying, ending the year 11-11 in their head-to-head, Hamilton led 15-6 on race days – Russell suffering four DNFs and describing his clash with Max Verstappen in Las Vegas as “the story of my season”.

END OF YEAR REPORT: Another challenging season for Mercedes as they look to climb ‘Mount Everest’ for 2024

As a result, Russell wound up eighth in the drivers’ standings, 100 points down on what he managed in 2022, with seven-time world champion Hamilton five places and 59 points ahead. Asked to compare the job he did in 2023 compared to the previous year, when he also claimed his first Grand Prix win in Sao Paulo, Russell offered a philosophical response.

“It’s been a season where we’ve had a lot of pace at times, but never achieved the results that I felt were deserved, or were possible, so we definitely need to try and understand why that was,” said Russell.

russell-win-2.jpg

Russell claimed his first F1 win with Mercedes in 2022 but could not repeat the feat last year

“There’s been a huge amount of missed opportunities, in many regards. It really hasn’t been a smooth season, but I think when everything’s flowing, when everything’s working, luck tends to be on your side.

“When you’re on the backfoot, you tend to have bad luck. I’m not one for believing in luck, I think you make your own luck, so we just need to be faster and Lady Luck will be with us.”

READ MORE: ‘Never say never’ – Hamilton explains change of heart by staying in F1 past his 40th birthday

With some of the career momentum he had built up disappearing, Russell continued: “It’s definitely something I’m going to look at over the winter, because the results were so smooth-flowing [in 2022], I think we finished in the top five more than any other driver.

“[In 2023], I feel that I’ve upped my game in my quali pace and upped my game in my race pace and we’ve definitely been on the backfoot.

hamilton-russell-spain-2023.png

Russell finished 59 points behind team mate Hamilton in the drivers’ standings

“But we definitely have more competition, with McLaren joining the fight in the second half, Aston being there at the start of the season.”

As for 2024, Russell admits Mercedes and the rest of Red Bull’s rivals face a “massive” task to reel in the team that has comfortably won the last two constructors’ championships – and three drivers’ titles with Verstappen.

READ MORE: Wolff has ‘no doubt’ Hamilton can compete for championships again with right car

“We’re all trying to catch up to the most dominant car in F1 history, so that’s no short task,” he said. “Everybody’s going to have to come together, really focused, really put everything into it and time will tell.

“But I think we’re going into this winter in a much better place than we were 12 months ago and two years ago, so we hope we’re not going to stumble over anything. But, as I said, time will tell.”

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

TechnicalF1 Unlocked

TECH WEEKLY: What were the reasons behind Aston Martin and Mercedes’ significant Imola updates?