George Russell makes blunt admission about defeating Lewis Hamilton in 2022

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton's 1-2 at last season's Brazilian Grand Prix was Mercedes' best result of 2022, by some margin.

Mercedes star George Russell has admitted that winning last season’s Brazilian Grand Prix was “more important” to him than beating Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, something very few drivers have ever done.

Russell’s maiden season at the Silver Arrows was excellent, with the 24-year-old having proven on multiple occasions why the Germans opted to replace Valtteri Bottas with him.

The former Williams driver led the team for the vast majority of the first half of last season, before Hamilton began to find his mojo.

However, it was Russell who claimed the team’s only pole position and victory, which came in memorable fashion at Interlagos.

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Russell was also the highest Mercedes driver in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Brit having claimed fourth, whilst Hamilton finished sixth.

In doing so, Russell became just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the championship, putting him in an exclusive club with 2009 World Champion Jenson Button and 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg.

Despite this being such a huge feat, winning in Brazil is what he’ll remember 2022 for, with fourth being “no-man’s land”.

“For me, this victory in Brazil was more important than the points classification,” Russell told Auto Motor und Sport.

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“At the end of the day, nobody remembers that I beat Lewis on points. I only finished fourth, so no-man’s land.”

Whilst he did make a few errors last season, on the whole, Russell was exceptional.

The Briton was able to extract more performance than realistically possible from the W13, with one of his highlights having been defending like a lion from both Red Bull drivers at the Spanish Grand Prix.

By the end of last year, Russell claimed a win, a pole position and eight further podiums, something which he can be very proud of.

However, Russell wants more than that and has his eyes on fighting for the title, highlighting how motivated and driven he is.

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“If someone had offered me a win, a pole position and eight podiums a year ago, I would have said: No, thanks,” said Russell.

“My ambition and that of the team are much higher than what we have achieved.”

Should Mercedes be able to offer Russell a much more competitive car in 2023, then it would be sensible to assume that he will be amongst the frontrunners contesting for the title.