George Russell on Lewis Hamilton: ‘He’s going to be on me’

George Russell managed to hold off Lewis Hamilton to secure his first ever F1 race win in Brazil.

The demons of Sakhir have been finally banished for George Russell, after he won his first ever F1 race in Brazil, rounding off a dominant weekend for Mercedes.

The young Brit started the race on pole after winning the sprint race on Saturday, and despite a late scare which saw a safety car bunch grid drivers back up again for the final few laps, Russell held on to secure a superb first win.

Lewis Hamilton was given permission to race his teammate at the safety car restart, but could not muster up enough of a challenge to overtake Russell, potentially down to the damage to his car caused by an earlier collision with Max Verstappen.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was not in attendance in Sao Paulo, but was seen on a facetime call with his drivers in the cool down room congratulating them, visibly delighted with his teams first one-two finish since 2020.

READ: Sergio Perez fires brutal dig at Max Verstappen over two world titles

“He [Russel] had a fantastic day today, he had the pace, withstood the pressure at the end,” said the Austrian.

“But also, about Lewis he was pushed out and came back. We were one and two. For the team, such a good result.”

Russell has had his critics in recent weeks following a spate of incidents with other drivers and below par performances compared to his teammates, but has silenced those who doubted him with a stellar performance in Brazil.

The 24-year-old has expressed his thanks to his team for their constant hard work to get the car to a level of performance worthy of a race win, especially considering how uncompetitive the Silver Arrows were in the early stages of the season.

Article continues below

“It was incredibly emotional,” said the Brit.

“It has been such a journey my whole family have been on since the beginning.

“Then since getting into Formula 1, through Williams, the struggles, the highs, the lows there. Then joining Mercedes and the struggles we had at the start of the season.

“This is a victory to be taken and I am so happy to cross that line and I am so proud of the whole team and the work we have done this season.”

Lewis Hamilton has looked more like his usual self in recent weeks, having challenged for the race win in Austin and Mexico, which Russell said makes his maiden win even more special.

“It’s definitely not sinking in, so many emotions crossing the line,” he stated.

READ: ‘That’s how it is’: Charles Leclerc unhappy after Ferrari reject his request

“I guess you dream of this moment. Floods of tears were coming out within five seconds of crossing that line and I think it’s also because those last 10 laps, Lewis put me under so much pressure.

“I know how quick he’s been recently and I was like, ‘I can’t make one single mistake here because he’s going to be on me’.

“When you do have Lewis as your teammate, it is difficult to keep performing every single session because he is always on it.”