George Russell admits Lewis Hamilton ‘in a really good position’

Mercedes driver George Russell failed to enjoy the revival he hoped for at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver George Russell aimed to rebound from a disheartening performance at the Singapore Grand Prix with a fresh strategy at Suzuka. 

However, his one-stop strategy left him vulnerable in the closing stages of the race, leading to a challenging weekend for the young British racer.

In a candid post-race interview, Russell took a moment to reflect on his 2023 season and shared his aspirations for the remaining six races of the Formula 1 season. 

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Russell stated, “For me, the goal is to secure P2 in the constructors’ [championship]. 

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“On my personal side, the drivers’ championship is totally out of the window. 

“It’s been a complete disaster of a season, so many missed chances. 

“Lewis [Hamilton] is in a really good position for P3. 

“Standing here now, it’s all good.”

Article continues below

Russell’s 2023 season has been a rollercoaster ride, with ups and downs on the track. 

Qualifying has been a challenge for him, failing to reach Q3 on four occasions and starting outside the top five in 10 races. 

On race day, he managed to finish in the top five only six times out of 16 races, a stark contrast to his previous season’s performance, where he achieved top-five finishes in 15 out of 16 races, including seven podiums. 

This year, he has only graced the podium once.

During the Suzuka race, Russell made a pivotal decision to go for a one-stop strategy while most of his competitors opted for a two-stop approach. 

As the race unfolded, he requested the team to consider “Plan B” over the radio, signalling his decision to stick with the one-stop strategy.

Following the race, questions arose regarding a heated team radio message from Russell during his battles with Carlos Sainz and teammate Lewis Hamilton. 

READ: Max Verstappen penalty reviewed after George Russell lashes out

In the message, he mentioned, “If you want to play the team game… he pushed me off the track earlier,” referring to his earlier altercation with Hamilton.

Responding to inquiries about the radio message, Russell clarified, “When you’re in the car and 48 laps in, you’re giving it everything and you’re making a sub-optimal strategy to try and work.

“That radio is a vent to release some frustration.”