Formula 1 | Mercedes F1: Russell regained his ‘confidence’ after departures
George Russell started this year at Mercedes F1, after three years at Williams. The Briton explains that he has been more comfortable at the start of the race since the start of the season than he was in his former team, where his reluctant single-seaters prevented him from being confident.
In 2019 and 2020, the FW42 and FW43 were very inefficient single-seaters, and the first laps with a large amount of fuel were very difficult. Last year Russell generally qualified well and had a difficult start to the race amid more successful rivals, which is no longer the case in 2022.
“I feel much more confident” notes Russell. « I think it’s about the nature of the confidence you have in your car. After a few races it took me back to my career as a junior and karting, and things seemed a bit more natural. »
« Whereas in my first three years in F1, I often felt like I was being taken for a ride on the first laps of the track. I definitely regained normal confidence in those first laps. »
The one who took pole position in Hungary and led the first laps notes that Lewis Hamilton like him were the drivers with the best starts several times in the first 13 races. A positive point for the team, according to him.
« We’ve done a pretty good job on the race starts. I think Lewis has historically always been one of the best drivers for his starts. And since I’ve been here this year, we’ve been statistically the two best over the of the season. It’s a real advantage and a positive point that we must remember. »
The rediscovered pleasure of fighting on the track
Russell was also able to rediscover the joys of battles on the track, since he did not manage to do so in previous years, and in particular in 2021. Indeed, the reasons for his difficult first laps were also those of his impossible battles.
« At Williams we had a very fast car in qualifying. But the real pace of the car was a bit slower. I felt very confident in that car in qualifying, but at the end of the day if someone has a bit more grip or downforce, he can put his car in a better window than you. »
« Barcelona was probably the first time this year where I had a real battle on the track. And that was obviously with Max [Verstappen]. It just took me back to when I was racing in F2 and F3, and it felt natural to me. »
« While in a Williams, I wanted to be able to do those things. But I couldn’t because we didn’t have the potential. And we were always on the defensive. There are a lot of factors at play here. But for sure, it makes my life a little bit easier this year than what I had before. »