Watch: What George Russell and Novak Djokovic spoke about at the Monte Carlo Masters

Michelle Foster
George Russell in the paddock. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

George Russell in the paddock. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

From seeking perfection to the strains of international travel, George Russell had a good yak with Novak Djokovic when the two met after the tennis legend’s opening Monte Carlo Masters victory.

Following on from Charles Leclerc’s visit to the clay court tournament on Monday, Russell represented the Formula 1 fraternity on Tuesday when he watched 22-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic beat Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov 7-6 6-2.

Russell had the opportunity to congratulate Djokovic after his bid for a 39th ATP Masters title got off to a winning start.

“It was good. It’s a solid start, but it could always be better,” the Serbian told the F1 driver. “When perfection isn’t on that level, you’re looking to get better, to improve.”

The two went onto discuss the various hardships of their respective sports, Djokovic dealing with an uncertain start time as, playing one of the later matches, he had to wait for those scheduled ahead of him to finish before he could take to the court.

As for Russell, his relates to the Formula 1 calendar and its globe-hopping calendar.

“It’s challenging and today I waited maybe an hour and a half or two hours more than I expected,” said Djokovic.

“So then you’re like, ‘should I be warming up or cooling down?’ And that makes you a little bit anxious. But I’ve had a few of those kind of situations.”

“We’ve got Azerbaijan, that’s the next one,” said Russell. “We just came back from Melbourne. Melbourne’s a killer, it’s probably taken a week to come back.

“We were meant to go to China next week. We’ve actually got a couple weeks off, Azerbaijan, and then the season really kicks off. Then Miami.”

With Djokovic pointing out F1 does “not really keep to the continents”, Russell replied that there have been a “few conversations about this, we’re left, right and centre.”

Last year a report emerged in May claiming F1 chief Stefano Domenicali was keen to group races by region only to later release a calendar that was anything but grouped. recommends

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Having started the season with two Middle East races, F1 then headed to Australia before Baku which will be followed by Miami.

From Miami it’s back to Europe for three races, then Canada, and then Europe again for another six grands prix.

The last of those, Italy, will be followed by two Asian venues, one Middle East and then four in the Americas before the season ends with round 23 in Abu Dhabi.