One thing is certain for George Russell as he enters his first British Grand Prix in Mercedes colours – he wants to win.
Eight of the last 10 races held at the Silverstone Circuit have been won by Mercedes, with Sir Lewis Hamilton claiming seven after Nico Rosberg’s 2013 success.
These victories have been broken up by Sebastian Vettel’s victory in 2018 and Max Verstappen’s excellent performance in 2020 at the 70th anniversary Grand Prix but, other than that, Towcester has been Mercedes territory in recent years.
It is very possible that the Silver Arrows success is not on the cards this weekend though amid the German side’s struggles for performance under the new technical regulations.
An upgrade package, coupled with the smoother track surface at Silverstone, should help bring them closer to Red Bull and Ferrari at the front as they seek their third consecutive podium finish.
Neither Russell not Hamilton have finished a race higher than third so far this year but, at his home event, P1 is Russell’s only target.
“It would mean a huge amount, but I want my first podium at Silverstone to be on the top step, so that’s what I am absolutely going for,” he told the Beyond the Grid Podcast.
“Not that I’d back off on the last lap if I’m second or third to not be on the podium, but Silverstone has such a fond place in my heart; it’s where I won my first ever race, it’s where I did my first-ever race as well, won it, first race! It’s where I did my first ever test in an F1 car.
“And just being my home race, the support is huge, so I can’t wait to get there, and I’ll be giving it absolutely everything I’ve got.”
140,000 spectators attended the British Grand Prix last year after the return of fans following the empty grandstands in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 142,000 are anticipated this weekend.
The atmosphere is always tremendous in Silverstone, and after being spurred on to a Q3 appearance last year, the 24-year-old Mercedes driver is excited to feed off the energy of his home crowd again this year.
“I think it’s going to feel electric to be honest,” added Russell.
“I remember last year, Silverstone, was the first race F1 had a full crowd back after we spent a year and a half without fans… and it was a slap in the face how much support it was and how awesome it was to have fans back.
“Every driver loves going to great circuits; every driver loves going to the country that the fans are so excited and so supportive of the sport; and every driver loves their home race.
“And for me, I feel like I’ve got the three in one so it’s going to be huge.”
Russell and Hamilton have scored five podiums between them so far in 2022, and chief technical director James Allison recently joked that he would “cry” if he were to see his drivers return to the top of the timing screens this weekend.