George Russell has pinpointed why his form turned for the better in the closing stages of 2023, after changing up his mentality after listening to Fernando Alonso.
After finishing third and finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton in his maiden Mercedes season, Russell entered 2023 full of belief and expectation that he could replicate his 2022 magic.
Unfortunately for the ex-Williams driver, replicating his 2022 season wasn’t on the cards, as costly driver errors were made too often.
The Singapore Grand Prix earlier this year was easily the lowest point of his 2023 campaign, as he crashed out of P3 on the final lap.
Russell clipped a wall which sent him into a barrier, in what was a mistake he’ll likely never forget.
Following on from this blunder, his performances improved, with him having ended the season better than Hamilton.
Russell ended the 2023 season with a podium at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, giving him some confidence going into the off-season.
In general, his entire personna seemed more positive after Singapore, where he was visibly deflated.
He puts this down to a “small mentality change” and how he went about his work with the Silver Arrows.
“I think a small mentality change from my side – homework with my engineers, the things I’m focusing on with the setup of the car, the things I’m not focusing on with the setup of the car, and just probably enjoying life a bit more,” Russell said, as reported by PlanetF1.
The change in mentality came after listening to Alonso on a podcast, where the Aston Martin driver admitted that he wished he enjoyed his career more when he was younger and winning his two titles.
Russell agreed with this take and admitted that he sometimes forgets that he’s “living my dream”.
“I listened to a podcast from Fernando where he said that, if he could change one thing in his career, he wished he enjoyed the moment more often when he was younger,” Russell added.
“I think that sort of resonated with me, because, you know, I’m living my dream here. But I’m so dedicated. I feel like a true professional, I look at every single detail, and I give it my everything.
“Sometimes you forget to enjoy it. And to enjoy the moment with the people around you, enjoy the places you’re going to, and smile – not just constantly be this 120 percent serious guy focused on every single detail.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m any less professional now. But it’s just that I’m probably enjoying my life more, my surroundings, the people who I have at home, and my living situation. I’m just in a much happier place. I’m learning new things that I never would have dreamt of doing before. So just, all in all, in a good place.”