George Russell has said there are three drivers on the current grid who he would feel apprehensive about getting in a battle with.
Russell is not one to be unafraid of contact and his most notable coming together in 2023 was with reigning champion Max Verstappen during the Azerbaijan sprint race. The Dutchman was heard calling Russell a “d**khead” as the two argued with the world watching but it is not the only incident in Russell’s career.
He sent Valtteri Bottas flying into the wall during a wet 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at a time when he was gunning for the Finn’s Mercedes seat.
But overall, Russell feels he has a good relationship with the majority of the drivers on the grid, suggesting he trusts them in a battle.
“I think we all know each other pretty well,” Russell said, as per Motorsport.com. “We know each other’s driving styles, we know the risks one another take.
“I first raced against Max and Charles [Leclerc], and Esteban [Ocon] actually, in 2011.
“I actually raced against those guys before I ever raced against Alex [Albon] or Lando [Norris], which is a bit interesting considering the nationality differences.
“We know each other and probably that does contribute towards how we race one another.”
That was the case for all but three drivers who Russell refused to name but did suggest they lacked the “the spatial awareness of others.”
“[There are] maybe three drivers on the grid who you wouldn’t feel comfortable going against,” Russell said.
“There’s a trust between most of the drivers. I don’t think [those three unnamed racers] have the spatial awareness of others.
“So, actually you prefer fighting hard against the great drivers because you know that they’re going to be able to control their car better and place it in hard positions but not dangerous positions comparing with somebody who maybe isn’t at the same level as the best.”
Despite their crash earlier this season and his reputation in earlier years, Verstappen was not one of the three with Russell instead saying he is less aggressive than ever before.
“When you’re battling for a championship you fight slightly differently and equally now Max is probably less aggressive than he’s ever been in the past because he’s in not in a position that he needs to be aggressive.
“And he can lose a position and know that he’ll get it back later down the line.
“Whereas we’re probably in a bit more of a ‘do or die’ position now to get that one chance of victory throughout a season.”