George Russell has revealed how he got some inadvertent advice from Fernando Alonso that he’s taken to heart.
The British driver has spent the last two years adjusting to life at the forefront of Formula 1, having made the switch from Williams to Mercedes at the end of 2021.
Unfortunately for Russell, his switch coincided with a major rules change and Mercedes falling away from the top as Red Bull ascended, meaning the British driver has had to be content with just one victory over those two seasons with the Brackley-based squad.
George Russell: A podcast with Fernando Alonso really resonated with me
Having had a topsy-turvy year on the consistency front, with Russell himself labelling the year as ‘”scrappy”, the British driver opened up on how he approached the second half of the year with a different mindset.
With stronger pace in the back half of the year, Russell said that it was actually a change of mindset he brought along as a result of listening to advice from Fernando Alonso – on a podcast!
“I think a small mentality change from my side – homework with my engineers, the things I’m focusing on with the setup of the car, the things I’m not focusing on with the setup of the car, and just probably enjoying life a bit more,” Russell explained on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I listened to a podcast from Fernando where he said that, if he could change one thing in his career, he wished he enjoyed the moment more often when he was younger.
“I think that sort of resonated with me, because, you know, I’m living my dream here. But I’m so dedicated. I feel like a true professional, I look at every single detail, and I give it my everything.
“Sometimes you forget to enjoy it. And to enjoy the moment with the people around you, enjoy the places you’re going to, and smile – not just constantly be this 120 percent serious guy focused on every single detail.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m any less professional now. But it’s just that I’m probably enjoying my life more, my surroundings, the people who I have at home, and my living situation. I’m just in a much happier place. I’m learning new things that I never would have dreamt of doing before. So just, all in all, in a good place.”
George Russell: I didn’t get to celebrate properly in Brazil!
Podcast host Tom Clarkson told Russell how Alonso hadn’t particularly celebrated his championship wins when he wrapped up the 2005 and 2006 titles in the Brazilian Grands Prix, with the Spaniard admitting to not really remembering anything stand-out about the parties with Renault.
Clarkson then asked Russell how he had celebrated his one and only Grand Prix win in Formula 1, with the Mercedes driver leading home a 1-2 ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the 2022 Brazilian GP.
“Reminiscing back to that, it’s very similar in a way because we had to fly off to Abu Dhabi,” Russell smiled.
“That was already booked in advance, and it was straight to the airport.
“Of course, I would have loved to have spent the whole night there in Brazil with all of my team and celebrating until the sun rose in the morning, but the practicality of it was just not possible. But yeah, we won’t make that same mistake twice!”