George Russell reveals why he’s not ‘celebrating’ beating Lewis Hamilton

George Russell became just the third team-mate of Lewis Hamilton's to beat him in the Drivers' Championship.

2022 was truly a remarkable season for George Russell, with the British driver having extracted every ounce of performance from the woeful W13.

With a pole position and eight podiums to his name for the year, one of those being his first victory in the sport, Russell adjusted to life as a Silver Arrows driver superbly.

Whilst he was involved in some avoidable collisions during the season, the 24-year-old ultimately excelled in his first year with the Germans, raising the question of what the Brit could do in a good car.

With that in mind, Russell was asked in Abu Dhabi if he’s ready to be a World Champion and fight for the title, a question he answered with a swagger of confidence.

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“I feel absolutely ready to win a world championship,” he told Sky Sports F1 at the season finale.

“I’ve felt ready for a couple of years now.

“I think having this season next to Lewis has been huge for me personally to learn some of the little details, how to get more out of my car, more out of my team, and extracting everything out of the package when it truly matters.

“And I’m definitely going to have a really strong winter. I’m going to work really hard with my team. Every single person at Mercedes’ factory is going to be pushing like hell to deliver a car, to give us a chance to go fight next season.”

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As well as having claimed Mercedes’ only pole and victory of 2022, he also finished above Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.

Russell sealed fourth whilst the seven-time World Champion languished in sixth, making the former Williams driver just the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to beat him in the standings.

Russell joins Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg in the highly exclusive club, one which he’d usually be “extraordinarily happy” to join under normal circumstances.

“I guess if you told me that at the start of the year, I would have been extraordinarily happy because if you beat Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, most of the time that means you be a world champion,” said the Brit.

“Obviously, I would take the positives away from the season, but I’m not going to celebrate finishing P4 in the championship.

“I’m going to celebrate winning the race in Brazil because that was a huge achievement for myself and the whole team.

“But the fact is, we’re all here to win and we’re here to win world championships. So we’ve not done a perfect job this season. We’ve had a relatively clean and smooth season with the car and package we’ve had.

“But to the standards this team set, some standards I set myself… it’s not good enough and we need to go on next year and give it more.”

There is certainly no doubt that Russell has World Champion potential; however, turning that potential into results is what separates the best drivers from the legendary ones.

Speaking of legends, though, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel does think Russell has a “good chance” of claiming a title, with the Brit clearly incredibly “hard-working”.

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“It’s so difficult to say,” Vettel told Sky Sports News, when asked if the Mercedes driver could win a title.

“But if he gets the right car, the right equipment, the right team – and I think he’s in a good place – then yeah I think he’s got the talent and skill.

“There’s more than talent and skill needed but he seems to be hard-working, so yeah he’s got a good chance.”