George Russell has his sights solely set on helping Mercedes secure P2 in the Constructors’ Championship, calling F1 2023 a “disaster” on a personal level.
Russell took a great deal of momentum into the campaign, having outscored his seven-time World Champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the 2022 Championship standings, his first season with Mercedes.
The tables have turned though with Hamilton now battling Fernando Alonso to secure P3 in the Drivers’ Championship, while Sergio Perez’s P2 spot is still far from safe. Russell meanwhile sits P8, 75 points behind his team-mate.
George Russell out to help Mercedes secure P2
Crashing out of the Singapore Grand Prix when fighting for the win marked a fresh frustration for Russell in this challenging campaign, while most recently in Japan he failed in attempts to convince Mercedes to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him and follow Singapore GP winner Carlos Sainz’s DRS trick.
Russell then has put the Drivers’ standings out of his mind, instead concentrating on making sure Mercedes turn their current P2 spot in the Constructors’ Championship into a finishing position, their advantage over Ferrari currently 20 points.
“For me right now, the goal is to secure P2 for the team in the Constructors’,” Russell told Sky F1.
“On my personal side, the Drivers’ Championship is totally out the window. It’s been a complete disaster of a season in that regard, so many missed chances.
“Lewis is obviously in a really good position fighting for P3.”
While Mercedes had already come to terms with P2 being the best they can manage, that was made official in Japan as Max Verstappen drove to victory and ensured that Red Bull retained the Constructors’ title for F1 2023.
Mercedes communications chief Bradley Lord told Sky F1 that they can only “doff their caps” to Red Bull, who have won a remarkable 15 of the 16 grands prix so far in F1 2023.
“I think we’ve been very fortunate enough to enjoy the run of success we had and we can only doff our caps to Red Bull and to the standard they’ve set this year,” he said.
“It’s a very, very clear target for us all to aim for in 2024 and beyond.”
Next up is the Qatar Grand Prix as Formula 1 makes its second visit to the Lusail International Circuit, Hamilton having won the inaugural staging of the event back in 2021.