George Russell has admitted that 2023 was “one of the worst seasons” of his motorsport career, as he was so often unable to get the most out of the W14.
This wasn’t necessarily his fault, as Lewis Hamilton also struggled with how inconsistent Mercedes’ 2023 challenger was.
However, whilst Hamilton also found this year a challenge, he was consistently stronger than Russell.
Russell failed to replicate his 2022 heroics of scoring more points than Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship, with him instead finishing 59 points and five places behind the seven-time World Champion.
He matched Hamilton 11-11 when it came to qualifying but was defeated 15-6 in the races, a scoreline which would’ve actually been 16-6 had the 38-year-old not been disqualified at the United States Grand Prix.
Race pace has therefore been Russell’s weakness in 2023, although he did at least manage to end the season with a podium at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He admits that it’s been a strange year in general but that his pace has been good, it’s just the results which haven’t come together.
“One of the strangest years of my life, in terms of professionally,” Russell told Channel 4 during the Abu Dhabi GP.
“I think the performance has been really great on many occasions but, in terms of results, has probably been one of the worst seasons of my career and just not coming together.”
Driver errors have also let Russell down this year, most notably at the Singapore Grand Prix where he crashed on the final lap whilst in third.
As for why good results have been difficult to come by on a regular basis, the 25-year-old failed to give a specific answer and instead noted that there are things to investigate during the winter break.
“There are little reasons for it,” Russell said.
“I think you can put it down to bad luck once or twice but, when it happens nine or 10 times a season, you can’t blame it on luck.
“So definitely need to look into that over the winter.”
Similarly, to Hamilton, Russell will be hoping that Mercedes can use their 2023 struggles to make their new concept in 2024 that much better, so that both drivers can take the fight to Red Bull and Max Verstappen in particular.