Russell on ‘surreal’ partnership with a ‘super hero’

Michelle Foster
George Russell with his 2022 Mercedes helmet. February 2022

Mercedes driver George Russell with his 2022 Mercedes helmet. Photo credit Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. February 2022

George Russell saw Lewis Hamilton as a “super hero” when he first met him back when he was 10 years old, now he’s his Mercedes team-mate.

After years of dreaming of competing for a F1 World title, Russell finds him not quite in pole position but definitely close to the front of the grid.

The Briton is the newest arrival at Mercedes, following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton, two of four having won World titles with the Brackley squad.

For Russell it is a “surreal” move, the 24-year-old having first met Hamilton when he was just 10 years old.

Now that driver who was once a “super hero” to him is his team-mate.

“It is definitely surreal,” he said at the launch of Mercedes’ W13.

“We have all seen the photo of Lewis and I when I was 10 years old, we have both changed quite a lot since then.

“I was a young kid aspiring to reach Formula 1 and Lewis was World Champion at the time, and a super hero to me. You see these incredible people and you don’t think they are human.

“And now, grown up and having the opportunity to race alongside Lewis is a really privilege because I’ve got such a great opportunity to learn and see how the best does it.”

Russell arrived on the Formula 1 grid in 2019, bagging a Williams race seat with the help of Mercedes in the wake of his Formula 2 championship success.

Having completed his best season ever with the team in 2021, scoring 16 points and a podium finish at the washed-out Belgian Grand Prix, Russell earned himself a promotion.

“It is exciting see George coming in and bringing his energy,” said Hamilton. “I can already feel that throughout the team.

“It is always a positive when you have new blood, new energy.

“George has had amazing career so far, in not only just getting into Formula 1 but what he has done in F1. It is going to be exciting to see him grow and work with him.

“I’ve had him sitting behind me before at a desk when we are working away getting a set-up on race weekends, now I’m collaborating with him and hopefully steering the car in the same direction. I’m excited for that.”

Russell is eagerly anticipating his first season with the Brackley squad but acknowledges it won’t be an easy one for himself, or the team.

With brand new regulations in play, 2022 will begin with a race to see who can adapt first to the new cars and, of course, who got it right and who didn’t.

 

“I think it is going to be a really exciting season for all of us and F1 general,” Russell said.

“There is so much change, so much to learn, so much development over the course of this season that we really need to be on top of our game as drivers to help give the feedback to the team and working as one to really push the car forward.

“I think from the first race to the last race of this season there will be some drastic changes that we’ll see on the cars.”

 

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