George Russell has enjoyed a strong first season in Mercedes colours, given the current circumstances facing the Brackley-based team.
2022 certainly hasn’t been the campaign that the Silver Arrows would’ve been anticipating, after what has been a horrendous year to date.
The team have arguably made a mess of the new aerodynamic regulations with their 2022 challenger, the W13, with its revolutionary ‘zero sidepod’ sidepods having caused a number of issues.
It’s taken Mercedes virtually half of the season to get on top of their porpoising problems, which saw the development of the W13 halted whilst they prioritised upgrades to solve the bouncing issue.
In doing so, they fell further behind Red Bull and Ferrari, with the Germans only now being on the brink of overtaking the latter.
Mercedes have proven that they are capable of battling Ferrari at high downforce circuits; however, at low downforce circuits the Germans are comfortably third best.
Russell has battled relentlessly this season, with the Brit having gotten the maximum out of the W13 ‘diva’, similar to how he used to always overperform for Williams.
The 24-year-old has achieved everything, except a race victory, something that continues to elude Mercedes this season as well.
Mercedes have won at least a single race every season since 2012, meaning that the reigning Constructors’ Champions have just six races left to extend this streak.
Russell is targeting his first F1 victory, with the Brit admitting that he’s “here to win”, not battle for second.
Ferrari and Mercedes are currently battling for second in the Constructors’ Championship, with Red Bull having escaped into the distance.
Whilst Russell wants to “try” and beat Ferrari to second spot, the Brit doesn’t particularly care due to “nobody remembering” who finishes second.
“Nobody remembers who finishes second in the championship,” said Russell.
“If you’re given a choice between winning a couple of races this year and finishing outside the top three, or winning no races and finishing second, I would choose the race wins.
“We’ll take it, we’ll definitely take it for the team, obviously we’re going to try and beat Ferrari in the championship but for me I’m here to win and unfortunately that’s a bit out of reach in terms of the championship.”
Russell is currently fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and is astonishingly only 16 points behind Charles Leclerc in second.
The Brit is on track to beat Hamilton in the standings, with the 37-year-old in sixth place and 35 points behind.
Mercedes’ best bet at ending their winless run could come at the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, a race that team boss Toto Wolff has admitted “should suit” the W13.