George Russell opens up on being booed by Formula 1 fans

George Russell was never faced with boos during his three-year spell at Williams.

George Russell has revealed that he was met with boos during a driver’s parade last season, with it being the first time he’d experienced such a reception since making the switch to Formula 1 in 2019.

Booing is certainly something which isn’t heard that often in F1, with it only notably having happened to Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez last season when their budget cap breach was announced by the FIA.

Lewis Hamilton was also subjected to boos and jeers last season during qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix, after he crashed out whilst on a hot lap.

On the whole, booing isn’t something which is common in F1; however, it can certainly be argued that it is starting to occur more often.

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Interestingly, Russell never faced boos or jeers whilst racing for Williams, with his unfortunate experience having occurred since his move to Mercedes.

Whilst he failed to share which race it took place at, the 25-year-old admitted that he simply “laughed it off” at first, before it made him “think”.

“Last year, for the first time, I experienced some fans booing me on a driver’s parade,” Russell told Square Mile.

“I’d never experienced that before. I’m a 24-year-old kid living his dream, just going out, working hard, trying to do his best, and you got these grown men booing you. I laughed it off, but it makes you think.”

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Being the victim of boos and jeers is certainly something which can impact a person’s mental health, with Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas having both only recently discussed the challenges on a driver’s mental health whilst competing in F1.

Russell has since shared how he copes with the mental demands of travelling the world for the vast majority of the year, with it being important to the Mercedes driver to always have somebody near him who “understands the pressures” of F1.

“I speak to my friends, my girlfriend’s incredibly supportive, but also my trainer, Aleix Casanovas. I travel the world with Aleix, he’s been with me since 2017 now, so it’s our seventh year together, and he’s done every single race with me since that point,” added Russell.

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“Just having him there as somebody who understands the journey, understands the pressures, that’s incredibly important.

“Also for me, the change in my professional life going from becoming an F1 driver, but one nearer the back of the grid, slightly out of the limelight, to one now who is slightly more at the front of the grid in the spotlight.

“The things you say are now being picked up more by the media and perhaps words may have been twisted or changed slightly, people’s perception of you changes as well, so it’s just learning how to deal with that change, because it’s not easy.”