George Russell suggests Lewis Hamilton’s 2020 wins were ‘too easy’

Despite joining the team in 2022, George Russell first drove for Mercedes in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

The roadmap for George Russell has always ended with the young Brit driving for Mercedes, but the team decided that a spell at Williams would be the most beneficial route for Russell before he takes on the pressure of a seat with the Silver Arrows.

The 24-year-old was a massive success at Williams, so when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID prior to the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Mercedes were not forced to look far for a one off replacement.

Russell drove a storming race standing in for the seven-time world champion and looked set to win his first Grand Prix before disaster struck in the form of a puncture and a pit stop mistake.

The Brit’s first pit stop saw the Mercedes engineers fit a mixed tyre set on his car, forcing him to pit again, and just as he was charging through the field to make amends for his team’s error, Russell got a puncture and had for come in for yet another pit stop.

READ: Esteban Ocon claims he was ‘overworked’ by Alpine because of Fernando Alonso

While Russell was highly likely to win the Grand Prix without all the bad luck he experienced, the Mercedes driver has claimed that his recovery drive might have been what caught everyone’s attention.

“I effectively lost the victory through a puncture,” claimed Russell.

“But by having that puncture, it also gave me an opportunity to carve my way back through the field and overtake Valtteri [Bottas] again, which in a way was almost a bigger statement than it would have been had I just won the race and cleared off into the distance.

“I obviously finished that race incredibly disappointed and upset that I wasn’t standing on the top step of that podium. But probably within 24 hours, I thought that this is perhaps a blessing in disguise.”

Article continues below

READ: Charles Leclerc forced Mattia Binotto to resign

Russell believes that his misfortune gave him the opportunity to showcase his entire skillset, rather than just charging to victory, which may have looked more impressive to his doubters.

“I had such an opportunity to show what I was capable of. I think if I’d just gone out there and won that race, probably the respect wouldn’t have been there because it almost would have been too easy,” explained the 24-year-old.

The Brit finally banished the demons of Sakhir at the Brazilian Grand Prix this season, where he won both the sprint race and the main race to secure Mercedes’ only victory of 2022.