George Russell offers solution to Lewis Hamilton dilemma

After impressing with Williams for three seasons, Mercedes decided to sign George Russell to replace Valtteri Bottas ahead of the 2022 season.

George Russell’s performances since joining Mercedes have been nothing short of spectacular, showing incredible consistency with a flurry of top five finishes despite Mercedes’ performance issues.

While his seven-time world champions teammate Lewis Hamilton went the entire season without winning a single race, Russell dominated the Brazilian Grand Prix, winning both the sprint race and the main event.

The 24-year-old outscored his veteran teammate in the final championship standings and proved to all the doubters that he certainly deserved his call up to Mercedes after fighting at the back of the grid with Williams.

Despite his successful start to life with Mercedes, Russell has explained that the social media side of his fame can be a massive hit to his mental health if not managed properly.

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“[The fame] absolutely challenges your mental health so much,” he told The High Performance Podcast.

“You’ve got to be so resilient to the negativity in this world, whether it’s the public perception, whether it’s social media, whether it’s the pressures of the team or even the pressures of yourself.

“But I think the biggest one, probably, for me, is that public perception and social media side, which is a tough one, and I think that’s also relatable to people who aren’t in the spotlight, because social media is a pretty ruthless platform.”

Lewis Hamilton has previously described social media as a ‘toxic place’ and has claimed that he never checks any of his comments on his posts as it is usually full of trolls and negativity, deliberately trying to cause harm.

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While Russell will have learned a lot from Hamilton during his first year working alongside the veteran, the 24-year-old has admitted that he also refuses to read his comments and speaks to a psychologist whenever he feels that he needs to.

“Just don’t read the comments. It’s a pretty straightforward, simple one,” said Russell when asked how he counters the negativity on social media.

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“I have a psychologist who I talk to. It’s not routinely but I always pick up the phone whenever I feel like I need it, and I always leave that conversation feeling better about myself.

“If there’s anything weighing on your mind, you need to talk to a professional about it and seek that help.”

Russell will have title ambitions of his own in 2023 after proving that he can beat Lewis Hamilton over the course of a season, and with Red Bull and Ferrari battling with penalties and management changes respectively, there may be no better time for Mercedes to return to the top than this season.