2022 has been a tough year for Mercedes, as the team struggled to get to grips with the new era of Formula 1 and fell behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the development race.
The team showed off some radical designs in pre-season testing in Bahrain, such as minimal sidepods which were also adopted by a couple of other teams.
Unfortunately for Toto Wolff and his team, their innovative designs were not the way to tackle the major changes in regulations, as the Silver Arrows’ season got off to a shambolic start.
Not only did the team lack the pace to even consider competition for race wins, the design of the W13 led to a major porpoising problem which was causing Lewis Hamilton and George Russell a lot of pain.
Getting back to winning ways took Mercedes until the Brazilian Grand Prix at the latter end of the season, meaning that it took the team over six months to overcome their early season struggles.
George Russell has claimed that there was a tense environment at times over the course of the season, as the team were forced through a huge amount of late nights and discussions with all departments of the team to try and fix their shortcomings.
The 24-year-old, who picked up Mercedes’ only win of the season in Sao Paulo, has now credited his teammate Lewis Hamilton for the team’s upturn in form, suggesting that the seven-time world champion was key to keeping things ticking at Mercedes.
“What impressed me the most with Lewis is seeing how he works with the team, how he gets the most out of the people around him, how he continues to keep morale high when moments are tough,” explained Russell.
“Ultimately what I already knew is how damn fast he is and how much of a challenge it is being teammates with a guy like him.”
Despite calling it a challenge to partner Hamilton, Russell finished two places higher in the championship than his veteran teammate, proving that he is more than ready to battle for the championship in 2023 should Mercedes give him a car capable of doing so.
Hamilton will not want a repeat of his relationship with Nico Rosberg next year, as he will be desperately hoping to win an eighth world title before he retires.