George Russell has excelled in his first season at the Mercedes F1 Team, having been the only driver to have finished every race in the top five until his retirement from the British Grand Prix.
Russell has managed to incorporate what he learned during his difficult period at Williams Racing, into handling and dealing with the diva that is the W13.
For three years, Russell dealt with being a backmarker superbly, by performing heroics in a car which ultimately should never have scored a point.
The Brit went even further than just scoring a point, and stepped foot on the podium with the team at the controversial 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.
Russell has staggeringly revealed his thoughts on his time with the historic side, during an appearance on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
The Mercedes driver believes he spent “too long” with the back-of-the grid team; however, former deputy team principal Claire Williams was “quite a good” negotiator.
“In hindsight, three years driving on my own at the back of the grid was too long,” he said.
“But, unfortunately, Claire Williams did quite a good job at the contract negotiations, and there was sort of no way out.”
Before joining the team in 2019, Williams had just endured one of their worst seasons in history; it came on the back, though, of three successful ones.
Russell explained that he had hoped 2018 was just a blip for the side, and that he’d be able to fight for points after not too long.
“I think when we signed with Williams back in 2018, this was a team, bearing in mind, that had just spent three years scoring podiums, finishing P3, P3, P5 in the constructors’, and then they had a very bad year in 2018 where they finished last,” the British driver explained
“But we thought that this was a team that at the time that can bounce back from this, and they’ll be back in the P5 to P3 region of competitiveness. So, we all sort of agreed that three years was a good period, fighting for points, maybe for podiums.”
Since joining Mercedes, Russell has on the whole out-performed his seven-time World Champion team-mate.
Should Russell finish above Sir Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, he’ll become the first team-mate of Hamilton’s since Nico Rosberg to do so.
The 24-year-old thinks he’s joined the Silver Arrows at the “right time”, with the new regulations meaning “it’s a fresh sheet of paper for everybody”.
“When I look at this with the benefit of hindsight, I think joining Mercedes last year or even in 2020 would’ve been incredibly tough because going up against Lewis when that car has been evolved to suit his style of driving over so many years, that was his baby as such,” Russell added
“Whereas now it’s a fresh sheet of paper for everybody, everybody is starting from scratch, and this was probably the right time,” Russell concluded.