Russell: ‘Noise around contracts doesn’t affect me’

Henry Valantine
George Russell on the Hungarian Grand Prix grid, August 2021.

George Russell prepares for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungary August 2021.

George Russell says he prefers to do his talking on track and focuses on what he can control in races, rather than worry about where he will drive.

Russell finally earned his first points as a Williams driver last time out in Hungary and he became emotional after finally achieving his long-held goal with the team.

Speculation around a possible move to Mercedes has been a season-long conversation throughout the paddock. But with the team yet to announce their decision either way, the Briton will simply keep racing as he has done in the “brutal” world of Formula 1.

“The noise around contracts doesn’t affect me,” Russell wrote in a column on “The talking is done on track. Formula 1 is a very brutal sport. There are only two spots per team, most of which are filled with absolutely exceptional drivers.

“You need to get out there every single race, every single day, every single lap and prove to everyone why you deserve to be here and why you deserve to be fighting for the Championship.

“So no matter what’s been said in the press, it’s almost in one ear, out the other. My focus is hitting the track and going as fast as possible.”

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Russell, of course, already had a run in a Mercedes at Sakhir last year when Lewis Hamilton was sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19.

And although that came with an added pressure by fighting at the front of the field, he could have won the race but for bad luck on the day. With that, he says it felt natural to him to start on the front row and lead the race – but he feels like he has more of a skill set to help him at the front as a result of his days near the back of the field.

“I’ve always believed in myself, but until you’re handed the opportunity there’s always that small element of the unknown,” he said. “How will I deal with the pressures when the time comes?

“But I felt comfortable really. When I was sitting on the grid, I felt like this is where I want to be every single week and I fought so hard to get to Formula 1 and fought so hard through my whole career and this is what it’s all about.

“I’m learning my trade at the moment, but I don’t want to be in this position my whole life at the back end of the grid. I’m here to win. It’s been two-and-a-half tough years and I feel like I’ve built a toolbox of skills that I wouldn’t have if I’d been winning races from day one.”