George Russell has enjoyed an incredible first season with Mercedes, despite the Silver Arrows having been relatively weak in 2022.
It’s been an extremely challenging year for Mercedes, as they’ve had to watch on as Red Bull have streaked away in both the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championships.
The German’s eight-year run of winning the Constructors’ crown will end, due to their Austrian rivals being 139 points ahead of Ferrari.
Red Bull have simply aced the new aerodynamic regulations, whereas Mercedes certainly haven’t.
The Silver Arrows faced a number of problems at the start of the year, with the biggest of the lot being their horrific porpoising issue.
The side had to prioritise solving the issue over developing the W13’s performance, something which has seen them struggle to keep up with either Red Bull or Ferrari.
At long last, Mercedes have finally managed to at least claw back Ferrari; however, fighting Red Bull in the championship will have to wait until next season.
Despite all the issues the German team has faced, Russell has been nothing short of extraordinary.
The former Williams driver has been able to extract maximum performance from the poor W13 on a number of occasions, something he managed to do consistently whilst driving for the backmarker side.
The Brit has stepped foot on the podium seven times this year and also claimed his first and the team’s first pole of the season at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Russell came close to victory at the Dutch Grand Prix, which has by far been Mercedes’ best performance of the season to date.
He’s somewhat walked all over his seven-time World Champion team-mate, and astonishingly is 35 points ahead of him in the current standings.
Russell currently occupies fourth in the championship but is right in the mix to claim second due to being just 16 points behind Charles Leclerc.
Whilst he’s been very dominant over Sir Lewis Hamilton, Russell is actually extremely grateful to have had the “opportunity” to partner the 37-year-old, who he’s learnt a lot from.
“I feel so fortunate being team-mates with Lewis because it has given me such an opportunity to see his strengths and where I can learn from him and he is definitely very strong in certain areas,” Russell said.
“He is always very strong in low-speed corners and under braking, he has always been very strong and it has been interesting to see his approach to certain issues and how he goes about it.
“There is no doubt that I have probably widened that envelope of my driving skills by being his team-mate. There is not really a way to measure whether you are a better driver or not, there are so many factors that go into it.”
With the team having finally figured out “exactly why” they’ve been strong at certain circuits and weaker at others, the 24-year-old is optimistic for next season, which will be an “evolution” of the W13 diva.
“I think we understand exactly why at circuits like Zandvoort and Budapest why we were competitive, and we understand why at circuits like Monza and Spa we were uncompetitive,” the former Williams driver told the F1 website.
“That doesn’t mean that we can solve the issues overnight. But we’ve got to keep on developing this car and next year will sort of be an evolution of this and I think now we do have a totally clear direction of how to develop the car.”