George Russell’s first year at Mercedes has been a rollercoaster of emotions for the 24-year-old, as he made the move from Williams into an unexpectedly uncompetitive car at the start of the new era of Formula 1.
Mercedes got the physics wrong surrounding the new regulations that came into effect at the start of the year, leading the team to struggle massively with a severe porpoising issue that cost them half a season’s worth of development trying to solve.
While seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished the season winless for the first time in his F1 career, Russell managed to pick up the Silver Arrows’ only win of the season in Brazil, as he spearheaded a shock one-two finish.
While Mercedes would have hoped to have challenged for both championships in 2022, Russell has explained that he believes the team’s struggles last season will benefit the team in the long run.
“You know, I’m here for the long haul and even though I would have wanted victories today and more fighting for that championship in 2022, I think as a team, these struggles are going to set us up much nicer for the coming years,” said the 24-year-old.
“So I hope I look back in ten years’ time and say, actually, this 2022 season was a positive one for the journey.”
One a personal level, Russell’s first season was an impressive one, as he finished fourth in the drivers’ championship, ahead of both teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
The former Williams driver has claimed that he is not going to be shouting from the rooftops about his 2022 season, as he strives for better in future seasons.
“I’m not going to walk away from this season with huge amounts of pride because I finished fourth in the championship. We still need to keep raising the bar,” he explained.
Hamilton has suggested that one of the main reasons that he was bettered by his new teammate in 2022 is the fact that he sacrificed the first half of his season to allow Mercedes to experiment with his car.
While Russell extracted the maximum from an uncompetitive W13, his veteran teammate was trying out more radical set-ups in an attempt to help the team solve their new regulation woes.
With Mercedes looking to be back to title challenging ways, it will be interesting to see how Russell’s relationship with his teammate evolves, should they find themselves wheel to wheel for the championship.