Mercedes driver George Russell believes that his first-ever Formula 1 victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 2022 was of greater significance than simply outperforming Lewis Hamilton in points over the course of the season.
Russell was promoted to Mercedes from Williams in 2022, putting him up against Hamilton, who is the most successful Formula 1 driver in history with seven World Championships, the most wins, poles, and podiums.
But Russell exceeded expectations, ending his first season with Mercedes with 275 points, 35 more than Hamilton. He also recorded Mercedes’ only win of the difficult 2022 season in Sao Paulo, and the Silver Arrows’ only pole position of the campaign in Hungary.
Despite outscoring Hamilton, Russell feels that his one win at Sao Paulo will be what he is remembered for, rather than a fourth-place finish in the final standings.
“For me, this victory in Brazil was more important than the points classification,” Russell said.
“At the end of the day, nobody remembers that I beat Lewis on points. I only finished fourth, so no-man’s land.”
Russell’s lofty ambitions on joining Mercedes
Russell has high aspirations, especially considering Mercedes’ previous success with eight consecutive Constructors’ titles and seven Drivers’ Championships before his arrival.
“If someone had offered me a win, a pole position and eight podiums a year ago, I would have said: No, thanks,” said Russell.
“My ambition and that of the team are much higher than what we have achieved.”
The 2022 season was a disappointment for Mercedes, with Hamilton struggling in the early stages. However, as the W13 became more competitive towards the end of the season, Hamilton began to perform closer to his best.
The real test for Russell will come if the Mercedes W14 is capable of a championship challenge, as he will have to do what only Nico Rosberg achieved in 2016, become the first Mercedes driver other than Hamilton to win the title in the turbo-hybrid era.
Russell will have to raise his game if the W14 is championship material, and he wants to make sure that he is the one who rises to the top, not Hamilton for an unprecedented eighth time.
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