Russell hints at bigger Drive to Survive storyline

Date published: May 12 2021 - Henry Valantine

George Russell Mercedes

After getting barely any screen time in the latest episodes of Drive to Survive, George Russell has implied he might feature more prominently in the next series.

The Williams driver was hardly seen in series 3 of the Netflix docuseries, despite playing a part in one of the biggest talking points of the 2020 season in Sakhir.

Drive to Survive has been widely popular with existing fans of the sport and McLaren’s Zak Brown believes the show “opening the doors” to fans has attracted new interest in Formula 1.

With more talk about Russell’s 2022 plans circulating, as well as his involvement in an enormous crash with Valtteri Bottas at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, it makes sense for the Netflix cameras to be following the British driver more closely.

Russell revealed he was even being filmed while recording the In The Fast Lane podcast, saying as he was asked about the series: “You may have seen one guy move slowly into the shot of the camera a minute ago and that was the Netflix crew.

“Obviously the main storyline from George Russell came very late in the [2020] season, and someone told me it was a little bit difficult [to fit me in] – that’s their excuse anyway!

“I’ll let them have that one, but I think for season four I might be a little bit more in there.”

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That storyline to which Russell referred was his stand-in race for Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix, driving Lewis Hamilton’s car as the World Champion recovered from Covid-19.

Russell put in an impressive performance, overtaking Valtteri Bottas twice on track to take the lead of the race, but a puncture and a breach of tyre regulations left him without a first Formula 1 victory.

He was pragmatic about his disappointment on the day, adding he had learned a lot by competing at the front of the F1 grid for the first time.

“First and foremost, you take away so many learnings from an experience like that and the first one is more confidence,” he elaborated on the experience. “I got this opportunity and we could have won the race if we didn’t have incredible unfortunate events or getting a puncture.

“That confirmed the job I’m doing is probably a pretty reasonable one. But equally, I took away that fighting for the win or pole position is not easy. The likes of Lewis, Max, Danny Ric, they’re setting the bar so high and you’ve got to continuously keep on improving.

“I don’t come away from that event thinking ‘I could have won, I’m good enough, let’s leave it there’. I came away thinking ‘yeah, I got a taste of it but I need to keep improving if I want to be at the top’.

“Psychologically, it was so important. I qualified P2 in my best qualifying result by a long way, but I came away disappointed I had missed out on pole.

“The effect after the race and the emotions I went through, it hurt me. It was incredibly disappointing, but I had to go to the next race in Abu Dhabi, pick myself up again and say ‘you know what, you’ve got to put that behind you now because, if you want to win a championship, you’re going to have disappointments’.

“You’re going to have victories taken away from you, you’re going to have weekends when you’re off the pace and you’ve got to be strong enough to say ‘right, that’s behind me now – move on to the next one’.

“If you dwell on the disappointments, you won’t get anywhere.”

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