George Russell claims Lewis Hamilton saved his career

Mercedes driver George Russell has charted his career in Formula 1 after signing a two-season extension at the team.

George Russell, known for his on-track antics, has revealed a surprising vulnerability. 

Despite his daring profession, the British racer admitted to having overcome his fear of water only recently, attributing it to his countryside upbringing in the UK and limited exposure to clear blue waters like those in the Mediterranean.

Russell’s transformation from aquaphobia to an avid water sports enthusiast is evident on his social media, where he shares his newfound passion for activities like surfing and freediving. 

Russell confided, “It’s a way that I find peace. It’s a way I disconnect from my sport and mentally recharge.”

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In a recent interview in Singapore, where the night race was about to take place, Russell discussed his contract extension with Mercedes, the challenge posed by Max Verstappen’s dominance, and Formula 1’s efforts to become more sustainable.

Mercedes made headlines by announcing contract extensions for both Russell and his compatriot Lewis Hamilton. 

Russell, who joined Mercedes’ young driver program in 2017, had already enjoyed considerable success in junior racing categories before securing a seat in F1 with Williams. 

Returning to Mercedes for the 2022 season, he clinched his first F1 victory in Sao Paulo in November of that year. Russell described the contract extension as “a very straightforward decision from both sides” and “almost a formality.”

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With two more seasons at Mercedes, Russell will continue to collaborate with Lewis Hamilton, whom he regards as “the greatest driver of all time.”

Russell even jokingly noted that Hamilton had effectively saved his career by being there to share the spotlight.

However, despite Russell’s contentment with Mercedes, he is keenly aware of the team’s need for improvement in their car performance. 

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In the 2023 season, Red Bull has dominated, winning every race, while Mercedes has only graced the podium in four races, with Russell securing a third-place finish in Barcelona. 

Russell acknowledged that his team is not currently where they want to be but expressed optimism, saying they are “on the upwards turn of the cycle” toward returning to the front of the grid. 

When asked about the possibility of building a winning car, Russell remained cautiously hopeful, emphasising the hard work of every individual within the team.