George Russell makes ‘painful’ claim amid Lewis Hamilton dominating him

George Russell has reflected on his performance in the 2023 Formula 1 season, citing it as his best in terms of pure performance.

Mercedes driver George Russell has expressed his belief that the 2023 season has been his best yet in terms of pure performance.

However, he acknowledges that a series of missed opportunities has masked his strong underlying pace throughout the season.

Russell’s journey to Mercedes began last year when he was promoted from Williams to the senior Mercedes team. 

This transition coincided with Mercedes’ dominance in the sport coming to an end. 

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Despite the team’s challenges, Russell made significant contributions, becoming only the third teammate to outscore Lewis Hamilton and securing his maiden F1 victory in Brazil.

However, Russell’s performance in the current season has been marred by missed opportunities, resulting in a seventh-place standing in the Drivers’ Championship, a substantial 75 points behind Hamilton in third place. 

Russell believes that he has lost over 60 points this season due to driver errors and strategic mishaps.

Reflecting on his performance ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Russell stated, “In terms of pure performance, I feel that this season has been my best ever, but I reckon there’s over 60 points that we’ve lost this season and for a number of different reasons.”

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He went on to highlight specific instances where points were lost, such as the Australian Grand Prix, where he had a shot at a minimum of a podium before retiring due to an engine failure. 

dditionally, the rain in Zandvoort and a podium opportunity, as well as mistakes in Canada and Monaco, contributed to the points deficit.

Russell admitted uncertainty about whether the early realisation that Mercedes would not be contenders for the championship negatively impacted his approach this year. 

He stated, “I don’t know if that’s had an impact on my mentality at all or not.”

Despite the challenges, Russell remains committed to his objectives, including securing P2 in the championship for the team. 

He expressed confidence that once Mercedes is in a position to compete for a championship again, he will return to his championship-winning mentality.

Russell’s most recent high-profile mistake occurred in Singapore, where he crashed out from third position on the final lap. 

Mercedes had utilised a late Virtual Safety Car period to pit both its drivers for fresh tires, allowing Russell and Hamilton to chase down Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.

Russell acknowledged that he could have handled the final stint better, citing that he took too much life out of his tires while pursuing the leading pair. 

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He emphasised the fine margins that can determine outcomes in Formula 1 and commended his competitors, stating, “We’re racing against the best drivers in the world.”

He concluded by reflecting on the race in Singapore, saying, “It’s so easy in hindsight, but I’m glad we went for it. 

“It would have been painful just to sit there and P2 within the DRS range for the whole race not doing anything.”