Beating Hamilton not ‘success’ for Mercedes team-mate Russell
Victory over team-mate Lewis Hamilton will not define George Russell’s Formula One campaign as a success, the Mercedes driver has claimed.
George Russell wants to better Lewis Hamilton this season, but the Mercedes man claimed he won’t view his Formula One campaign as a success if he manages to do so. The Mercedes pair have failed to match the pace of rivals Red Bull and Ferrari this year, effectively confirming an end to the team’s monopoly on the Constructors’ Championship.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton in particular has struggled after his controversial last-gasp title loss to Max Verstappen last year, who is on course to defend his title. That has led to questions over whether Russell is emerging as Mercedes’ nominal first-choice driver, with the 24-year-old having nabbed three podiums to Hamilton’s two so far in 2022. But Russell will not view beating his team-mate as the bar for success.
“Obviously, I want to beat my teammate and I’m not going to take offence if he says the same,” he told The Guardian ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. “But I would not see my season as a success purely because I’ve finished ahead of him more times than he had finished ahead of me. I would see it as a success if I was standing at the top step of the podium.”
Russell grew up idolising Hamilton, who has been one of the sport’s dominant forces since he broke through in 2007, and the Briton has nothing but respect for his team-mate. However, the nature of their competition makes it difficult to form a friendship that would not get in the way, much in the sense Hamilton’s bond with former Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg deteriorated amid a testy title tussle.
“I guess if you took an average look across F1 team-mates, that is probably the case,” Russell added. “There are a lot of people who get along in this paddock but overall, we are all fierce rivals. We are all here to be competitive and to try and win. You are in a battle.”
Hamilton will start fifth on the grid at Silverstone, while Russell had to settle for eighth in qualifying.