George Russell has declared F1 2023 “one of the strangest” and “worst” seasons of his professional racing career.
Russell has been quite open about how he’s viewed 2023 as a scrappy one on his side of the Mercedes garage, with Lewis Hamilton having the measure of him more often than not after a much more competitive first season as teammates.
The British driver finished eighth overall in the Drivers’ Championship, 59 points behind Hamilton as the seven-time World Champion vied with Sergio Perez to finish as best of the rest behind Max Verstappen – a battle Perez eventually won out.
George Russell ‘can’t blame it on luck’ after tough season
Reflecting on his 2023 as he spoke to Channel 4 over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend, Russell said he felt this season has been strange as he hasn’t struggled for performance – but the results just haven’t flowed.
“One of the strangest years of my life, in terms of professionally,” he summed up.
“I think the performance has been really great on many occasions but, in terms of results, has probably been one of the worst seasons of my career and just not coming together.”
As for why that might be the case, Russell said he wasn’t going to point the finger at misfortune and will be digging deep to bounce back in 2024.
“There are little reasons for it,” he said.
“I think you can put it down to bad luck once or twice but, when it happens nine or 10 times a season, you can’t blame it on luck.
“So definitely need to look into that over the winter.”
Having finished level on qualifying results with Hamilton, with each outqualifying the other on 11 occasions in an even split of the season, Russell said he was finding it difficult to find the positives as his illustrious teammate usually had the edge on race day.
“It’s been a strange season,” he said.
“I felt very good on the Saturday afternoons and sort of found a bit more of my mojo when I struggled a little bit at times in the season.
“But this car is just so challenging to drive and [you said] we’re 11-all, but we’re never the same pace.
“Either I’m four or five-tenths ahead, or he’s four or five-tenths ahead of me and that just goes to show how difficult the car is, how difficult the tyres are.”