Russell: Mercedes motivated to ‘bounce back’ after title defeat

Michelle Foster
George Russell in the garage. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

George Russell in Mercedes gear as he tests for the team after leaving Williams. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Returning “home” after three years away, George Russell says there is “so much motivation and fire” at Mercedes to win back the Drivers’ title.

Last season Lewis Hamilton lost the World title to Max Verstappen, Mercedes’ seven-year reign ending in controversial circumstances.

They did, however, retain the Constructors’ Championship for an eighth season with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas doing the business.

This season Hamilton has a new team-mate to help him extend Mercedes’ record-breaking run, and potentially wrestle back the Drivers’ title from Red Bull.

Russell has replaced Bottas, the Mercedes junior driver having done his apprenticeship at the back of the grid with Williams.

Russell’s promotion feels like a home coming for the Briton, who as a Mercedes junior since 2017, had previously spent a lot of time at the team’s Brackley headquarters.

“It’s an incredibly special feeling to be an official Mercedes driver and a bit of a strange feeling at the same time, having spent so much time there when I was in Formula 3 and Formula 2 as a junior driver,” Russell said in a Mercedes video.

“In a way, it feels like returning home to people who I’ve known for such a long time and getting up to speed with how the team operates again, which is something I’ve really enjoyed.

“Because I spent so much time with the team prior to joining Williams in Formula 1 as a junior driver, I feel like I know everybody so well already.”

That meant he could quickly get into the swing of things with the team, revealing that Mercedes are fired up ahead of this year’s championship.

“So we were just straight to business on the important bits and bobs, to understand the new car, to understand the challenges, and to try and prepare as best as possible for the season ahead,” he continued.

“And I think following the conclusion of last year, there’s so much motivation and fire within the whole factory to bounce back. And that is incredible for me to see.”

Looking ahead to his first season with the Silver Arrows, the 23-year-old isn’t putting a number to his goals, not in terms of races wins or podiums.

Instead he really wants to “get the maximum for myself and the team around me.

“I think it’s going to be such an interesting year of development. And I think that’s truly where all the performance is going to be this year.

“But in terms of a result, I truly don’t believe you can put a value or target on that, because nobody knows where they’re going to be when they reach the first race.

“You have to have your micro targets on where am I going to improve on myself? Where am I going to improve on the car?

 

“And if you do every single aspect correctly you give yourself the best chance of reaching the obvious goal.”

Mercedes will launch their all-new W13 on February 18 ahead of pre-season testing kicking off in Barcelona five days later.

 

‘So much motivation and fire’ at Mercedes

George Russell has been talking about the fire and motivation at Mercedes for 2022.